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Alcester man avoids jail after violence during drug-dealing accusations

David Stewart (46176118)
David Stewart (46176118)

A MAN who was punched in an argument over drug-dealing has come “within a hair’s breadth” of prison after returning to his attacker’s house and barging in alongside a friend armed with a knife.

The victim was punched and kicked, and David Stewart also grabbed the man’s partner by her neck.

Stewart, 21, of Hertford Road, Alcester, was originally charged with aggravated burglary but escaped jail after pleading guilty to an alternative charge of affray.

Recorder Balraj Bhatia QC, sitting at Warwick Crown Court, heard that Stewart was spotted on a bike on 3rd September outside the Alcester home of Joe Beale, who accused him of doing a drug deal. Prosecutor Laura Culley added that Mr Beale chased Stewart and punched him in the face.

Later, Stewart returned with others including Ire Steer, who swore at him. Steer, from Redditch – who was jailed for 15 months earlier this year for his part – pulled a flick knife from his pocket and lunged towards Mr Beale.

Stewart barged in and Mr Beale was pushed on to the stairs, where he was punched and kicked by Steer before Mr Beale’s partner dragged him off.

Stewart, who was of previous good character, grabbed her round her neck and face and, after letting go, he and Steer were chased away by Mr Beale, who had grabbed a baseball bat. His partner then realised a necklace she was wearing had gone.

Stephen Cadwaladr, defending, said: “No affray was intended when they went to the house. This defendant had told Ire Steer he had been punched in the face by a man they both knew, and it was Mr Steer who said, ‘I will have a word with him’.

“Mr Stewart tells me the reason he became involved at that point was an instinctive spur-of-the-moment decision because it was going through his mind that ‘this is all my fault, I can’t just run away and leave them to it’.

“It is a great pity he finds himself before a court. But for being punched in the face, the chances are he would have gone to his dying days without ever having troubled the courts. The court can have confidence he will never darken the door again.”

Stewart was sentenced to eight months in prison suspended for 18 months, with rehabilitation, and ordered to do 180 hours’ unpaid work.

The judge told him: “You have come within a hair’s breadth of an immediate custodial sentence.”

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