A DRUNKEN man who smashed a cup down on the head of another resident in the Stratford-upon-Avon house where they both lived has escaped being jailed.
Keith Merritt, aged 44, of Clopton Road, Stratford, at the time, had pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to wounding victim Dean Bremner.
But Merritt, now of Dodwell Park, Dodwell, near Stratford, changed his plea to guilty on the day of his trial and was sentenced to nine months in prison suspended for two years.
Prosecutor Scott Coughtrie said that in July last year Merritt and Mr Bremner had separate rooms at a social housing address in Clopton Road which was run by the Cyrenians.
On that evening Mr Bremner had gone into Merritt’s room where they had been drinking together, as a result of which they both have little recollection of what followed.
But according to other residents, there was a disturbance in the bedroom, and when they went in they saw the two men sitting on the bed shouting at each other and Merritt with a cut to his lip.
Mr Bremner then left the room and went downstairs where he stood at the bottom of the stairwell.
Merritt then followed him down, holding a cup in his hand, and when he was still on the stairs above Mr Bremner, he punched down at his head.
As a result the cup he was holding smashed on the crown of Mr Bremner’s head, causing cuts which bled profusely.
“We accept it was not a deliberate use of a weapon. It is apparent from what the two witnesses say that it was a punching action,” said Mr Coughtrie.
The other two men who were there intervened and grabbed Merritt, who went to the floor where he landed on shards of the broken cup and suffered a cut to his neck which also bled heavily.
The police and an ambulance were called, and Mr Bremner was taken to hospital for treatment, added Mr Coughtrie.
Nick Devine, defending, said Merritt was unemployed and, as a result of the incident, has had to leave the Cyrenians accommodation—so is currently without a settled address, but staying mainly with his mother or with friends.
Mr Devine added: “He does not have a drink problem, although on this occasion he had plainly drunk too much. There was an argument over something which no-one can remember, and then a single foolish act.”
Judge Marten Coates told Merritt: “This was too much drink by too many people, and things got out of hand. I have no doubt there was an argument up in that room.
“You should not have followed him out, but there was not a deliberate choosing of a weapon. I don’t think immediate custody would be appropriate.”
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