Man who at­tacked a can­cer suf­ferer with metal bar avoids jail


The Chronicle - - News - By ROB KENNEDY Court Re­porter rob.kennedy@reach­ Recorder Jonathan San­di­ford

A CAN­CER suf­ferer was at­tacked with a metal bar in a shock­ing at­tack dur­ing which her wig came off – but the man re­spon­si­ble has walked free.

The vic­tim had just un­der­gone chemo­ther­apy on the day of the at­tack when she was struck with the weapon by Aaron Stephen­son.

A court heard the woman, who has since died, was left with bruis­ing to her back fol­low­ing the as­sault in Ash­ing­ton, Northum­ber­land.

Now Stephen­son, 25, of Wood­horn Road, New­big­gin-by-the-Sea, who was convicted af­ter a trial of as­sault oc­ca­sion­ing ac­tual bod­ily harm and hav­ing an of­fen­sive weapon, has been given a sus­pended prison sen­tence.

Sen­tenc­ing him at New­cas­tle Crown Court, Recorder Jonathan San­di­ford said: “There’s a vul­ner­a­ble vic­tim who was, at the time, suf­fer­ing from can­cer and had just un­der­gone chemo­ther­apy on the day in ques­tion, and there was the use of a weapon.

“The lo­ca­tion of the of­fence was out­side the fam­ily home of her mother and father and son.

“The de­fen­dant has pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions for of­fences in­clud­ing vi­o­lence.

“The com­plainant was struck a sin­gle blow which left a bruise across her back. It was not the most se­ri­ous of in­juries.

“There was the ad­di­tional fac­tor of hu­mil­i­a­tion. She found her­self hav­ing her wig re­moved, hav­ing lost her hair due to chemo­ther­apy.”

The as­sault hap­pened in Beatrice Street, Ash­ing­ton, in July 2016, fol­low­ing a dis­agree­ment.

It is not clear whether Stephen­son pulled the woman’s wig off and he de­nied it. Her son came to in­ter­vene and po­lice were called.

The woman was left with a bruise to her back but did not need med­i­cal treat­ment.

She died be­fore the trial but her state­ment about what hap­pened was read to jurors.

Bank notes fell from Stephen­son’s pocket in the street as he was chased by the vic­tim’s son. Prose­cu­tors said a num­ber of men then turned up at the ad­dress de­mand­ing money.

The judge said since the at­tack, Stephen­son was made sub­ject to a sus­pended sen­tence in Septem­ber last year and had “com­pleted a num­ber of cour­ses and com­pleted them well”. Recorder San­di­ford added: “He has re­sponded well to the su­per­vi­sion of­fered to him and he seems to have gained insight to his pre­vi­ous of­fend­ing be­hav­iour and says he wants to stay out of trou­ble in fu­ture.

“His grand­par­ents are cited as a sta­bil­is­ing fac­tor and the in­ten­tion is for him to go and live with them if he is re­leased to­day.” The court heard Stephen­son had spent six weeks re­manded in cus­tody for the at­tack plus a fur­ther four weeks for other mat­ters which he was cleared of. He also spent time on a tag. He was sen­tenced to two years sus­pended for 18 months with a three -month cur­few be­tween 9pm and 7am and a five-year re­strain­ing order ban­ning him from con­tact­ing the fam­ily of the vic­tim.

She found her­self hav­ing her wig re­moved, hav­ing lost her hair due to chemo­ther­apy.

Aaron Stephen­son

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