Suffolk man warned of jail term

AN alcoholic from Hadleigh today faces jail after he punched his dad and broke a 78-year-old woman's collar bone during a public outburst.

AN alcoholic from Hadleigh today faces jail after he punched his dad and broke a 78-year-old woman's collar bone during a public outburst.

Gareth Meredith knocked his father, Alan, to the ground during a domestic dispute and pushed frail Rachel Frankenberg against a car when she tried to intervene.

In a statement to magistrates in Ipswich, Mr Meredith told how he was scared of his son and said he did not want the 26-year-old to return to Hadleigh for fear of more abuse.

Mr Meredith said his son had been an alcoholic for three years and had assaulted him on a number of occasions.

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He also described how family relations had deteriorated to the extent that he and his wife would only meet Meredith in a public place to avoid further harm.

On one such occasion on August 16 the family agreed to meet in the car park in Angel Street, Hadleigh, but it quickly descended into chaos when an angry Meredith blamed his parents for being late.

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Mr Meredith said: “He was shouting abuse at me so I turned away. I felt a big thump to the back of my head. My glasses fell off and I fell to the ground.”

He added: “If he is released back into Hadleigh, he will continue to assault me. I am scared of my son because of his addiction and his attitude towards the help we try to give him.”

Ms Frankenberg also said in a statement that Meredith was aggressive and threw a punch to his father.

She added: “I said something like 'don't do that'. He pushed me very hard and I fell down. My head and my shoulder hit the side of the car and he ran off.”

Ms Frankenberg was later diagnosed with a broken collar bone.

Meredith, of High Street, Hadleigh, pleaded guilty at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court to two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and another charge of failing to attend court at a previous hearing.

Chairman of the Magistrates Joan Overett, said: “She was a particularly vulnerable victim who has significant injuries that are possibly long-lasting and you have a bad record.”

Of the assault on his father, she added: “There should also be a position of trust between father and son which makes it worse.”

Meredith was released on conditional bail until a sentencing hearing at Ipswich Crown Court on a date to be set.

Should you receive stiffer penalties for attacking vulnerable people? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to

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