Pho­tog­ra­pher spared jail for as­sault­ing busi­ness part­ner

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

A PHO­TOG­RA­PHER who “reck­lessly” struck his busi­ness part­ner with a metal brochure stand dur­ing a row about over­seas hol­i­day prop­er­ties has es­caped an im­me­di­ate prison sen­tence.

David Heb­ditch, 46, of Ch­est­nut Lane, Kingsnorth, Ash­ford, lost his tem­per with He­len Kemp at their pho­to­graphic stu­dio in Sandgate in Jan­uary.

Af­ter throw­ing the 4ft high stand to the floor, Heb­ditch picked it up, only to swing the heavy base against Miss Kemp’s fore­head, caus­ing a cut and a dent.

Maid­stone Crown Court heard the pair had been busi­ness part­ners for a year but had an “un­re­solved” and on-go­ing dis­agree­ment con­cern­ing hol­i­day homes in Cyprus which they also ad­ver­tised at their Port­land Stu­dios in Sandgate High Street.

Trou­ble flared when Heb­ditch and Miss Kemp rowed about po­ten­tial profit. Heb­ditch kicked a cof­fee ta­ble and threw the stand, which held in­for­ma­tion about the Cyprus prop­er­ties.

Jo Boothby, pros­e­cut­ing, said Miss Kemp was lean­ing over to tidy up when she was struck by the stand.

The in­ci­dent was cap­tured on the stu­dio’s CCTV and was played in court. Mr Boothby said Miss Kemp’s head started to bleed quite quickly and Heb­ditch brought her a towel. Feel­ing dizzy, she later went to hospi­tal for treat­ment.

“Ac­cord­ing to Miss Kemp, Heb­ditch had rather a bad tem­per when it came to con­flict of opin­ions,” ex­plained Mr Boothby, “and there had been quite a few rows dur­ing the time they ran the part­ner­ship, al­though there had never been vi­o­lence be­fore.”

Heb­ditch ad­mit­ted as­sault caus­ing ac­tual bod­ily harm. Im­pos­ing a jail term of 18 weeks sus­pended for 12 months Judge Charles Macdon­ald QC said he took “a se­ri­ous view of an ugly in­ci­dent”.


How­ever, he added that the as­sault was reck­less rather than pre­med­i­tated. “The ag­gra­vat­ing fea­ture is the harm done as a re­sult of the reck­less mis­han­dling of that metal stand,” said the judge.

“It is not tech­ni­cally a weapon in the guide­lines sense but some- thing I must take into ac­count. The in­juries could have been, I think, quite a lot worse.”

Heb­ditch must carry out 100 hours’ un­paid work and pay £350 com­pen­sa­tion to Miss Kemp.

Oliver Saxby, de­fend­ing, said the as­sault was not a de­lib­er­ate at­tack with a weapon and the harm caused was fairly lim­ited.

“I do not de­tract from the premise that this was a nasty lit­tle in­ci­dent and he lost his tem­per, but in the true mean­ing of ‘weapon’ this stand does not qual­ify,” ar­gued Mr Saxby. “There was a loss of self-con­trol with Miss Kemp in the vicin­ity.”

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