Man attacked woman on Chester-le-Street hostel balcony after provocation of 'humiliating' remarks

The Advertiser Series: Durham Crown Court hears of hostel attack by brother on sister Durham Crown Court hears of hostel attack by brother on sister

A YOUNG man flew into a rage and attacked a woman as he believed she was spreading malicious gossip implying he had been unfaithful to his girlfriend.

Durham Crown Court heard that Ian Turnbull and the woman were both living in separate flats at a YMCA hostel in Chester-le-Street, late last summer.

Susan Hirst, prosecuting, said they briefly fell out as Turnbull believed she made remarks questioning his fidelity to his girlfriend, although they had just about patched things up by the day of the incident, on Saturday September 7.

But, that afternoon, Turnbull was in his girlfriend’s ground floor flat and believed he could hear the apparently drunken woman making comments about him from the rear balcony of an upstairs flat.

Miss Hirst told the court: “He thought she was making derogatory remarks and he lost his temper, shouting: ‘Just wait until I get up there. I’m going to f***ing kill you.’ “She tried to tell him she wasn’t talking about him, but by then he was enraged.”

Miss Hirst said he gained access to the adjoining flat and jumped from there to the balcony where the woman was making the comments.

He grabbed her tightly round the throat and she believed he was going to choke her, as other young women at the flat described her “turning blue in the face”.

Others present intervened to try to help the woman, but he punched one in the arm and stamped on another woman’s foot.

Having been pulled away from her he went for her a second time, trying to throw her over the balcony, but she struggled, before being dragged to the floor and losing consciousness when she banged her head.

Another male resident at the hostel went to the flat to assist, pulling Turnbull away from the victim, who was taken to hospital suffering whiplash injuries, tendon and ligament damage, plus various bruises and swellings.

Turnbull, 23, now of Cronniewill, Hamsterley Colliery, near Consett, admitted assault causing actual bodily harm, plus two counts of assault by beating.

Stephen Rich, mitigating, said there was, “a lack of pre-meditation and a high degree of provocation”, as Turnbull believed she was humiliating him in public.

But he accepted his reaction was, “unpardonable” for which he is now deeply remorseful.

Recorder Ian Atherton told Turnbull: “It was a sustained attack, yet there was considerable provocation.

“But, as a mature young man you should not have responded to it.”

He imposed an eight-month prison sentence suspended for a year, and ordered Turnbull to perform 120-hours’ unpaid work.

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