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Man who beat his former neighbour escapes with a £60 fine

PUBLISHED: 11:35 25 June 2009 | UPDATED: 16:52 25 August 2010

VICTIM: Guesthouse owner Robert Gray at the scene of the crime.

VICTIM: Guesthouse owner Robert Gray at the scene of the crime.

A WIDOWER has escaped jail after admitting beating his former neighbour whilst out walking his dog.

A WIDOWER has escaped jail after admitting beating his former neighbour whilst out walking his dog.

John Aldous, 47, of Lizban Street, Blackheath, was given a 12 month suspended sentence and a £60 fine at Woolwich Magistrates Court for pleading guilty to assault by beating last Thursday.

Nervous-looking Mr Aldous, who was wearing a beige linen suit, admitted beating his former neighbour Robert Gray, 53, in St Alfeges Passage on November 9 last year at approximately 6pm.

The court heard how Mr Gray, who runs No. 16 St Alfeges guesthouse, said "good evening" to Mr Aldous who then said something in reply which was not disclosed in court.

Mr Gray then recognised Mr Aldous, whose wife had committed suicide in 2005, and said: "You killed your wife. I suppose you are now going to kill me now," the court heard.

Mr Aldous then pushed Mr Gray whose head then hit the railings leaving his forehead and cheeks with bruising and grazes, the court heard.

The defendant then walked off and Mr Gray went to Greenwich police station in Royal Hill to report the incident.

Defending solicitor Robert Rye said the death of the Mr Aldous' common-law wife was a traumatic experience which came back to him on that night.

He said: "They had been together for nearly 20 years.

"There weren't just partners but also business partners and in 2005 that business went into deterioration. He is a graphic designer.

"She died without a will, so there were a lot of legal issues.

"He has had counselling, but he feels the only way to get through this is time is a great healer.

"He should have taken a different course of action and could have walked away. He took the wrong choice but to his credit he has pleaded guilty.

"I would ask you treat this case in isolation."

Chair of the magistrates Joyce Bloom agreed with the defendant, who is currently on disability living allowance, to pay the fine in £10 instalments every two weeks and that no compensation would be awarded to the victim.

Speaking outside of court Mr Gray said: "I hope he gets all the help he needs and that he deserves. I don't want to gloat. I would like to thank the police for their continued support and put the incident behind me and move on."

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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