Four cleared of lounge attack

FOUR men accused of a gang attack on a teenager in the lounge of an Ipswich home have been cleared of assault charges after a judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to proceed.

FOUR men accused of a gang attack on a teenager in the lounge of an Ipswich home have been cleared of assault charges after a judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to proceed.

Michael Beales, 20, Gareth Westcott, 20, Thomas Oliver, 19, and Dale Sterrett, 23 were all cleared of assaulting 18-year-old Jamie Thorpe and causing him actual bodily harm.

During the trial at Ipswich Crown Court, jurors heard Mr Thorpe had been watching television at the Landseer Road home of Beales' former partner Kaylene Mulcahy when Beales and his friends had arrived at the address.

When Miss Mulcahy refused to let them in, the group was said to have gone to the rear of the property and kicked the back door until the hinges came off.

At that stage Miss Mulcahy is said to have let Beales in who then searched the house for Mr Thorpe and found him in the bedroom of Beale's 15-month-old son. It is then the initial assault is said to have taken place. Beales of Landseer Road, Ipswich had pleaded guilty to this charge in a previous hearing at South East Suffolk magistrates court and is currently awaiting sentence.

Shortly afterwards however, it was alleged the other three men forced their way into the house via the damaged door.

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It was then argued the group had assaulted Mr Thorpe in the lounge but all four were cleared of this charge on the recommendation of Judge John Holt.

Beales had also pleaded guilty to damaging the door when he appeared before magistrates but Oliver and Sterrett yesterday also admitted causing damage to the door and a jury at Ipswich Crown Court was advised to find them guilty.

Westcott, of Trimley Road, Kirton, was cleared of all charges.

Judge Holt sentenced Sterrett, of Finbars Walk, Ipswich, and Oliver, of Spring Road, Ipswich to a £200 fine, compensation of £50 and ordered them to pay costs of £70.

Beales is due to be sentenced at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Tuesday but Judge Holt said he would invite magistrates to commit sentencing to crown court.

Beales was remanded in custody.

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