Convict’s gratitude

tis. Harrogate Magistrates Court. 311208ARpic1.
tis. Harrogate Magistrates Court. 311208ARpic1.

A MAN who was jailed on Monday after flouting court rulings thanked magistrates for their decision as he was being led to the cells.

Matthew Waddington, 30, pleaded guilty at Harrogate to breaching a suspended prison sentence – one of 16 weeks suspended for a year - which was imposed last November.

Andrew Watson, prosecuting for the probation service, said Waddington, of Sandringham Road, Ripon, should have reported to do unpaid work on December 6 and December 7. But he had not kept either appointment and had completed around a third of the 120 hours imposed as part of the suspended sentence order.

Mr Watson told court chairman Lindsay Addyman the order had been imposed for breach of an earlier community sentence ordered for assault by beating.

His failure to turn up to work followed a similar pattern of limited engagement and frequent breaching of past orders and, based on his lack of compliance, the probation service was suggesting implementation of the suspended sentence.

In mitigation Clive Farndon said Waddington accepted the court would probably adopt a course of action which would deprive him of his liberty but sought to have the sentence kept to the absolute minimum.

His non-compliance stemmed from difficult personal circumstances. His 10-year relationship with a woman began to fall apart at the time he should have been complying with court orders. He began drinking heavily to the detriment of his health and went on a downward spiral.

Mr Farndon said Waddington, who was now living with his mother, had committed the assault which led to the suspended sentence while on a night out with friends in the centre of Harrogate.

He had gone outside for a smoke and the victim of his attack shouted abuse at him from across the street. Waddington had gone over and had punched the man, who he did not know, on the nose causing bruising.

Mrs Addyman told Waddington his suspended sentence would be activated but because he had done some of the unpaid work the period of detention would be reduced to 12 weeks.

And he was told he would serve a further two weeks because of £944 he owed to the court in unpaid fines.

As he was led away by security officers Waddington called out to Mrs Addyman: ‘‘Thanks very much.’’