Man who kicked two women in stomach seemed ‘possessed’

A ROTHBURY man seemed ‘possessed’ when he assaulted three people in the village in an unprovoked attack, biting one man and kicking two older women in the stomach.

Lee Michael Gale, of High Street, pleaded guilty at South East Northumberland Magistrates’ Court on Monday to three counts of assault and one of resisting arrest, following an incident which took place on Sunday, April 15.

The court heard how the 42-year-old turned up at Karl Reay’s flat in Allerdene Court at around 4.10pm and started banging on the door.

When Mr Reay opened the door, Gale, whom he had never seen before, tried to force his way in. In the ensuing struggle, Gale bit Mr Reay on the forearm.

Mr Reay managed to close the door and called the police and Gale seemed to leave.

Sandy Higson, who lives next door to Mr Reay, and her friend Carole Bailey were discussing the incident with him when Gale returned, this time trying to get into Ms Higson’s house.

Gale grabbed Ms Bailey by her T-shirt and hair before kicking both women, who are in their 60s, in the stomach and when Mr Reay tried to intervene, he was punched in the face.

Gale then entered the flat, shouting obscenities at Ms Higson, before coming back out saying ‘sorry, wrong property’.

When the police arrive, Gale struggled with PC Andrew Welsh and tried to punch while he was being restrained.

Magistrates heard that all three victims were distressed by the attack.

In a victim statement, Mr Reay said: “I had no idea who he was and why he was at my house.”

He said that Gale was ‘very, very strong’ and ‘it was almost like he was possessed’.

He added that he felt ashamed that the two women were caught up in it.

Ms Higson, who is recovering from cancer, said: “I honestly thought the guy was going to kill her (Carole), the way he was holding her.

“It was the most violent, shocking thing I have ever experienced.”

Tony Flynn, from Northumbria Probation Trust, said: “There clearly appear to be mental health issues behind the offences.”

He told magistrates that Gale had broken up with his partner last year and had received counselling though his GP.

David Cornberg, defending, said that he didn’t think the bench should sentence Gale until ‘all avenues had been explored’, pointing out that there was no supporting evidence from psychiatric services and no explanation for why Gale acted as he did.

The case was adjourned until Monday, May 21, at 2pm, for a full probation report to be prepared before sentencing. Gale is on unconditional bail.