Versions of assault significantly different

MAGISTRATES have ordered a man who attacked a woman in the street – and his victim – to appear before them so they can decide which of two versions of the crime is accurate.

Daniel David Murtagh, 24, appeared in court at Harrogate on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to assaulting Annabelle Helen Bevis by beating her in Cheltenham Parade, Harrogate, on September 28.

But the court heard Murtagh, of Bower Street, Harrogate, did not accept the full extent of the case against him and presiding magistrate Andrea Seddon bailed him until January 31 when both he and Ms Bevis will give evidence about what happened.

Prosecutor Katie Varlow said the Crown’s case was that Murtagh, who had a previous conviction for assault in 2008, launched his attack after spreading rumours about his victim, who he had known for about 10 months, and her sister.

When Ms Bevis asked why he had been telling lies he threw dirt and wood chippings at her before punching her in the face, kicking her back and kidney area and then stamping on her foot.

Defence solicitor Clive Farndon said Murtagh’s version of events was “rather differed” to that outlined by the prosecution.

Murtagh said he had known Ms Bevis about a year and there had been a history of animosity between them over recent months. Ms Bevis had shouted at him in the street on occasions, something she repeated on the day of the assault.

Murtagh decided he had had enough and accepted he threw dirt and wood chippings towards her. But he did not accept he had thrown a punch at her or kicked her.

He claimed he had pushed Ms Bevis and she had fallen to the floor where he had “pushed her in the back with his foot”.

Mr Farndon suggested the disparity of accounts was such as to make a significant difference to the court’s sentence.

Presiding magistrate Andrea Seddon agreed and bailed Murtagh until January 31 when his evidence and that of Ms Bevis will be heard before he learns his fate.