A CHRONIC alcoholic back in court for his latest booze-fuelled offence has told magistrates he will get his life back on track – as he ‘doesn’t want to die’.
Steven Smith, who has more than 80 previous convictions, made the pledge after finding himself in the dock again.
The 30-year-old had sunk seven litres of cider and a bottle of vodka before hurling abuse at a woman at a bus stop and threatening to stamp on her face.
He pleaded guilty to a charge of using threatening and abusive behaviour at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
Many of Smith’s past convictions are for drink-related offences – but he vowed to turn his back on booze and stay out of trouble after being spared another spell in custody.
Smith, of Burnham Street, South Shields, was handed a 23-day jail sentence for a drunk and disorderly offence only last month.
Stan Sudsworth, prosecuting, said: “On Saturday, December 14, at about 5.30pm, a man and a woman were waiting at the bus stop on Keppel Street in South Shields.
They saw Smith coming towards them carrying a bottle of cider.
“He said to the woman ‘so you’re still alive are you’. She asked him not to talk to her, but he became abusive and said ‘I will stamp on your face’.
“She was upset and reported the incident to police.
“Smith was arrested and admitted the offence.
“He had had up to seven or eight litres of cider and a bottle of vodka at the time.”
Paul Kennedy, defending, told the court that Smith has had spells living on the streets, but is currently in a more stable situation living with his mother.
Mr Kennedy said: “There are a number of variables to consider, his alcohol use, his accommodation and his health.
“The good thing is he is living with his mother and has to cut his level of alcohol while there.
“There is no way of stopping him drinking alcohol. I’m not certain he can physically stop. Health professionals have said his health would actually deteriorate if he did stop.
When he is homeless, he gets depressed and his drinking goes up.
“When he has stable accomodation and support he drinks less alcohol, which reduces incidents like this.
“He can’t remember the incident. He had drunk seven litres of cider.
“He is a chronic alcoholic. He needs to drink that much just to feel the effects of it.”
The court heard that Smith had community orders revoked in January and February due to further offending, as well as his recent period in prison.
Malcolm Grady, chairman of the magistrates, said: “This offence is absolutely shocking and disgraceful.
“You have to think about the feelings of the victim.
“What needs to happen is you need a dose of reality to kick in. What can you tell the court to convince us that you will comply with a community order?”
Addressing the magistrates, Smith said: “I have spoken to the woman and apologised and gave her a hug.
“I’m losing my family as well now, that’s the problem. I’ve got a job now.
“I’m 30 – I don’t want to die. I’ve had enough. I give up.
“Alcohol is no good.”
Magistrates took Smith’s words into consideration and handed him a six-month community order with supervision.
But Mr Grady warned him: “It’s in your best interests to comply with the order. It is back in your own court. You need to keep stable accommodation and address your alcohol issues.
“If you offend again, you will spend Christmas in custody. Use this support and turn your life around.”