Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Tenant beaten up after not paying rent

An angry landlord and his son punched and threatened a tenant before trying to drag him out of a car and attack him while in traffic, a court heard.

Flintshire pair Dennis Marshall, 64 and his son, Marcus, 24, were convicted of assaulting John Gradwell after a trial during which West Cheshire magistrates were told they lashed out over unpaid rent.

The pair went to see Mr Gradwell at the Chester property on July 2 last year and demanded £1,200 of unpaid rent before Marshall senior punched the victim and Marshall junior threatened to break his legs, said Marie Haydon, prosecuting.

Miss Haydon said: “The complainant John Gradwell was a tenant of Dennis Marshall. Mr Gradwell owed the defendant £1,200 in outstanding rent. After going to the property Mr Gradwell and the defendant became involved in a dispute over the outstanding monies and an internet transaction which Mr Gradwell said he had made.

“The complainant then said the defendant pushed him on the bed and punched him. Mr Gradwell said the defendant Marcus Marshall threatened to break his legs.

“After a conversation about going to a cash machine to withdraw the money, the victim ran away and flagged down a friend and got in to her car. The defendants then followed the victim and at traffic lights they opened the car door where Mr Gradwell was inside and tried to pull him out before punching him ten times.”

Marshall senior, of Melbreck Avenue, Hawarden, and Marshall junior, of Bracken Close, Broughton, Flintshire, denied assaulting Mr Gradwell but admitted there had been an incident arising from four months of unpaid rent.

Mr Gradwell sustained bruising to his face and legs as a result of the assault, the court was told, Richard Hallows, defending, said the matter had “got out of hand”.

He said: “Both deny assault. Clearly there was an issue and matters got out of hand. Mr Marshall (Dennis) was furious but accepts that he should have handled the matter better than he did.

“For Marcus Marshall, the offence is out of character. He is of good character. He too accepts that the matter got out of hand. Both have learned their lesson, they realise it should not have happened.”

Both were sentenced to 18 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months and each ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work, and pay £50 each in compensation to Mr Gradwell.

Magistrates also ordered them to each pay £400 costs and a victim surcharge.