A couple who attacked a man in the street because he tried to stop their dog biting him have been spared jail because of police delays.
Chantelle Bennett, 30, and Rebecca Tantrum, 28, lashed out at Paul Sutton after he grabbed their dog’s lead to prevent further attack.
Cardiff Crown Court heard that all three fought in the street in Newport, Wales, before police arrived.
Prosecutor Matthew Roberts said Mr Sutton had been walking his own dog when Bennett and Tantrum’s pet bit him outside their flat.
The women became enraged when he took hold of the animal’s lead in a bid to control it, the court was told.
Mr Roberts said: ‘Chantelle Bennett was shouting at Mr Sutton: “Let go of my dog”. She was screaming at him. She approached with a bottle in her hand and she was indeed trying to hit his partner with the bottle. Mr Sutton pushed her to the back of the neck and to the floor.’
The prosecutor said Bennett smashed the bottle of Desperados before her girlfriend came towards the victim with a hammer. ‘During the incident, Bennett shouted “go on, whack him” and Tantrum said “I’m going to kill you”,’ the court heard.
CCTV showed Tantrum swinging the hammer at Mr Sutton’s body and Bennett punching him before the three fall to the floor.
Both women, of Newport, admitted actual bodily harm and Tantrum also admitted possessing an offensive weapon and cannabis.
Jeffrey Jones, defending Bennett said: ‘There was an element of provocation. She was manhandled to the ground.’ Rosamund Rutter, for Tantrum, said: ‘She is appalled by her actions.’
The women were spared jail because of police delays in bringing the case to court.
Judge Jeremy Jenkins said the attack happened almost a year ago and the women hadn’t been charged sooner, adding: ‘Each of these defendants deserves to go immediately into custody for their violent behaviour.
‘This delay is solely due to the fact that despite the police having the incident captured live on CCTV, they did nothing and released the defendants under investigation.
‘That has led to an unconscionable delay in the proceedings which means that because of it, the court now finds it would be unjust to send them immediately into custody for offending which is 12 months old.
‘This is happening time and time again, and the general public, who sometimes criticise the courts and judges for what they consider to be light sentences, should be aware for the reason why.’
Bennett was handed a 10 month suspended sentence and Tantrum a 12 month suspended sentence.
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