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Former Peterlee soldier's good service record helps spare him prison sentence
A FORMER soldier’s good service record helped him to avoid a prison sentence for an incident in which he assaulted his brother and former girlfriend.
Stewart Branthwaite attacked his ex-partner on her return from a day out with friends in York to celebrate her 20th birthday, at 2am on May 5.
Durham Crown Court heard that when his brother Daniel tried to intervene, a further fight broke out between the siblings, witnessed by neighbours in the stairwell outside Branthwaite’s flat in Van Mildert Close, Peterlee, County Durham.
Chris Baker, prosecuting, said during a lull in the violence Branthwaite smashed his then partner’s £500 television set.
Mr Baker said Branthwaite, 28, and his younger brother had been drinking with friends at the flat for most of the day, while his partner was in York.
Mr Baker said the 22-year-old brother lost several teeth and suffered a broken nose, while the young woman suffered swellings to the face.
Branthwaite, who initially told police he was acting in self-defence, was charged with assault causing actual bodily harm, assault by beating and criminal damage.
But after he pleaded ‘guilty’ to criminal damage and an added fourth count of causing an affray, covering his behaviour during the whole incident, the prosecution agreed to allow the two assault charges to lie on the file.
Mr Baker said both victims withdrew their evidence when the case was scheduled for trial on the original charges, which led to them being replaced by the new count of affray.
The court heard that Branthwaite has several offences for violence and disorder on his record.
But Jim Withyman, mitigating, said there was a period with only one offence during his seven years’ service with The Rifles regiment.
Character testimonials were handed to the court, including one relating to Branthwaite’s service with The Rifles, and another from his brother.
Mr Withyman added that Branthwaite is now a hard working man, "back in Civvy Street".
Recorder Ian Atherton told Branthwaite: “In the light of your good service record I’m prepared to pass a community order."
He added:"You don’t solve problems by punching those near and dear to you.
“Both complainants withdrew their complaint out of loyalty to you, but you did cause injuries which would have led to imprisonment had you not had such an excellent service record.”
Recorder Atherton passed a 12-month supervision order and ordered Branthwaite to pay £1,200 costs.
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