Hallowe’en horror leaves gardener bruised and bloody

A 24-YEAR-OLD man was sentenced to 60 hours’ unpaid work after a Hallowe’en headbutt at the Alnwick Garden.

At South East Northumberland Magistrates’ Court on Monday, Warren Stewart, of Sycamore Avenue, Alnwick, was found guilty in absence of headbutting gardener Peter Edge on Sunday, October 31, 2010, during a Hallowe’en trail event.

The case, which took nearly 15 months to be decided, had already been proved in absence but was re-opened as Stewart’s then solicitor told him the wrong time to turn up.

On Monday, it was proved in absence again after Stewart, who maintained his innocence, turned up late for the trial.

The court heard how Stewart’s co-accused, his cousin Jay Martin, had been convicted last year for punching both Mr Edge, causing a cut to his eyebrow, and Hugh Gunn, another member of staff at the Garden.

On the night in question, witnesses said that the pair were drunk and being disruptive. At around 11pm outside the Water Tower, they were asked to leave as they had not paid for a ticket for the event.

In a police interview, Stewart said he had drunk three or four pints of snakebite and black at the Oddfellows Arms but was not drunk.

According to Mr Edge, another colleague threatened to phone the police and Stewart approached him so Mr Edge stood between the two to allow his colleague to make the call.

He was headbutted in the chin area by Stewart before Martin punched Mr Gunn and Mr Edge. Stewart and Martin then ran off and the police and paramedics were called.

Mr Edge described the experience as ‘horrible’. “My tongue was bleeding, my nose and chin were bruised and there was a lot of blood coming from my eye,” he said.

Chris Kay, prosecuting, said that both men admitted to having been there and Martin had already been convicted of the punches, therefore if the other person there headbutted Mr Edge, it had to be Stewart.

Before sentencing, Graham Crowth, defending, pointed out that Martin, also sentenced to unpaid work, had been convicted for two assaults including causing the more serious injury to Mr Edge as, in his initial statement, Mr Edge only complained of soreness to the chin following the headbutt.

Stewart was given a 12-month community order with a requirement of 60 hours’ unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £75 in compensation to Mr Edge and £250 towards court costs.