Findon man who assaulted pensioner avoids jail

Police are appealing for witnesses to the distraction burglary

Police are appealing for witnesses to the distraction burglary

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A Findon man who kicked and punched a 76-year-old in his own home was today spared jail.

Jason Cottage, 28, of Homewood, carried out a ‘sustained attack’ on the pensioner which left him severely bruised fearful for his life.

At an earlier hearing, Cottage had pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm on the evening of January 5.

Appearing at Chichester Crown Court today, Thursday, March 3, Cottage was handed a 14-month suspended sentence.

The court heard Cottage went to Michael Bourne’s house at 10.30pm to complain about noise coming from his house.

He grabbed him by the throat before kicking and punching him repeatedly on the ground – an attack which left a footprint behind the pensioner’s ear.

The court also heard how Cottage, who is profoundly deaf and communicated through an interpreter, found the noise coming from next-door stressful and ‘lost it’.

Martha Walsh, prosecuting, said Mr Bourne feared for his life when Cottage then put gloves on after the attack.

In a statement, Cottage admitted to having thoughts of killing Mr Bourne and said he was concerned about forensics and leaving fingerprints.

While still on the floor, Mr Bourne then attempted to calm Cottage by asking him to pass the television remote control so he could show him how it worked.

Cottage complied and the pair then began discussing various family photos in the room.

Ms Walsh said: “Once calm, he said to Mr Bourne, ‘You’re not going to tell the police are you?’

“Mr Bourne said, ‘No, no, it’ll just be between us.’”

The pair walked to the door and shook hands before Cottage left.

Mr Bourne was left with severe bruises to the face and ribs and was told by hospital staff to report the assault to police.

The court heard that the 76-year-old grandfather still suffers headaches and although expected to make a full recovery, has been left frightened in his own home.

Judge Christopher Parker QC said: “What you did was terrifying at the time and has altered his life quite substantially.

“From being a busy, sociable, family man, he has become frightened inside and outside his own home because of what you did.”

James McPherson, defending, said Cottage has a learning disability and is not able to read or write, but worked at a warehouse stacking shelves.

“He’s extremely sorry, and indeed, ashamed of what he’s done,” Mr McPherson said, adding his behaviour had been ‘totally out of character’.

Passing sentence, judge Parker said: “In effect, you lost your temper. You went to Mr Bourne’s house, you pushed your way in, and you set about him.”

His early plea and relocation away from Findon, along with his disability, judge Parker said, were reasons for him avoiding an immediate jail term.

Judge Parker said: “The prison service would find it very difficult to cope with you but much more importantly, you would find it very, very difficult to deal with imprisonment.

“Be sure that if you offend again, you will not just be back in court, you will be back before me.

“I shall not forget that you were given the opportunity to show that you truly regret your actions.”

Cottage was handed a suspended sentence of 14 months, given a 20-hour rehabilitation activity requirement and 200 hours of unpaid community service.

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