Dad lost control in row over kids

Courts: Reports from the law courts.

Courts: Reports from the law courts.

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A MAN who violently assaulted his father-in-law has escaped jail after the victim wrote to a court saying he bore him no malice.

Andrew Barnes, aged 38, pushed Derek Chapman to the ground, punched him in the face, and kicked him in the head in a row over how he was bringing up his two children.

The victim suffered cuts to his face which required 12 stitches in hospital, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

Recorder Felicity Davies said such assaults ‘almost always merit an immediate prison sentence’ – but gave Barnes a community order after hearing of the ‘exceptional circumstances’ of his family’s domestic situation.

Barnes, of Squirrel Croft, Rockingham, Rotherham, and his wife and two children had moved to live at Mr Chapman’s house at his request after the older man’s marriage had broken down.

But on April 5 this year, after returning to the home with his six-year-old daughter, Barnes told police he ‘just lost it’ and attacked his father-in-law.

He said they had had differences over trivial matters and how he was bringing up his children.

Dermot Hughes, defending, said Barnes had been living apart from his wife and children since the attack as part of his bail conditions which was causing further problems.

His father-in-law had written to the court asking for the matter to be resolved and saying he ‘bore no malice’against his son-in-law.

Sentencing Barnes Recorder Davies told him: “It is perfectly clear you found it very difficult indeed to live in those circumstances and you found it very stressful. It was against this background of frustration and differences in dealing with your children that you simply lost your self-control.”

The court heard Barnes was full of remorse and was of previous good character.

The judge said: “The stress under which you were living resulted in conduct which I accept was out of character for you.”

The judge ordered Barnes to undertake 80 hours of unpaid community work.

She told him: “I hope this will prove to be an isolated incident of lost temper on your part.”

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