Elderly woman attacked on train

A DRUNK who assaulted an elderly woman with a walking stick has been ordered to compensate his victim.

Tom Potter

A DRUNK who assaulted an elderly woman with a walking stick has been ordered to compensate his victim.

John Hewitt, 61, was spared jail at Ipswich Crown Court after he admitted assaulting a 73-year-old woman on a train.

Hewitt, of Hollingsworth Road, Lowestoft, boarded a train from Norwich bound for his home town with a friend on September 15. Both had been drinking and became abusive towards other passengers.

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When confronted by pensioner Cecil Fletcher, Hewitt lashed out with his walking stick and struck the 77-year-old's wife Madeleine in the face, knocking her glasses off and wounding her under the eye.

Hewitt, who receives £260 a week in incapacity benefit and disability living allowance for a list of complaints including diabetes and Parkinson's disease, was caught on CCTV and immediately pleaded guilty to offence in a police interview.

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Ian Boyes, representing Hewitt, told the court his client had shown genuine shame and remorse for what he had done.

He said: “He acknowledges his behaviour was unacceptable and knows that a man of his age should not be drinking to excess and causing discomfort for people using public transport.

“Those who were aggrieved by his behaviour had every right to stand up and remonstrate. It was a terrible instance of rowdy behaviour which left an elderly woman injured but it was an act of stupidity rather than one of premeditated violence.”

Hewitt was sentenced to a 36-week prison term for assault and 12 weeks for threatening behaviour, suspended for 12 months.

He was also given a three month curfew order and fined a total of £975 for the assaulting Mrs Fletcher and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards Mr Fletcher with intent to cause fear.

In sentencing Hewitt, Judge Neil McKittrick said: “You conducted yourself in the kind of way that attracted the attention of your fellow passengers and the train guard who told you twice to desist in your behaviour.

“I'm prepared to accept this was not an intentional assault but was grossly reckless conduct. You had no regard for the welfare of other travellers. They had a right to expect their journey not to be characterised by such an unsavoury incident.

“But for your early guilty plea you would be going to prison. You showed remorse when you had sobered up and were interviewed, so I feel able to suspend your prison sentence.”

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