A HUDDERSFIELD man has been jailed for viciously attacking his neighbour’s mother.
Richard McMeo, 24, of Norwood Road, Birkby, was sentenced to three years at Bradford Crown Court yesterday after pleading guilty to wounding at an earlier hearing.
The court heard McMeo had attacked Joan Dollive on May 4 last year while she was at his home with her daughter – McMeo’s neighbour – and her daughter’s boyfriend.
They had all been drinking and the trouble began when Mrs Dollive struck McMeo with a bottle.
The court heard there was a dispute as to whether this was a gentle tap on his leg or a blow to his face.
But Judge Prince said that whatever actually happened McMeo’s reaction to it had been appalling.
McMeo punched Mrs Dollive in the face several times and they fell against a wall as they scuffled.
She hit her head against the wall and, as she lay semi-conscious on the floor McMeo continued to punch her in the face and kick her in the head several times.
Mrs Dollive was taken to hospital and found to have bruising and lacerations to her face and neck, bleeding in one eye and a fractured right cheek. She also had damage to her vocal cords.
The judge said it was not known whether Mrs Dollive would suffer long-term effects from her injuries, but he said she had suffered a traumatic experience.
He added: “This was an extremely distressing incident for her. You must have known what you were doing would cause injury and you engaged in a sustained attack of great violence upon her. This was a defenceless female.”
McMeo was arrested on the day of the attack and told police he had slapped Mrs Dollive and she fell.
He originally entered his guilty plea at court on that basis and it was accepted by the prosecution.
But Judge Prince did not accept the defendant’s version of events. McMeo then admitted the assault, including kicking Mrs Dollive in the head.
Later the judge delivered a stinging criticism of the Crown Prosecution Service for accepting the defendant’s original plea basis.
He said the CPS should have charged McMeo with a more serious offence of Section 18 unlawful wounding, for which the maximum penalty is life imprisonment. This was the charge originally made by police.
The judge said if McMeo had been found guilty of a Section 18 offence he would have been able to declare him a ‘dangerous offender’ who would not have been released until a parole board decided he was not a risk to the public.
McMeo will serve only half his term before being let out on licence.
The judge said: “The public are entitled to expect they will be protected. I am unable to offer to the public such protection as I believe they would have received had this matter been prosecuted in the way I would have expected.
“Public safety is undermined.”