Afghanistan veteran fined after incident in shared accommodation in Beach Road, South Shields

An ex-squaddie headbutted a fellow lodger he felt was threatening him in a shared accommodation house in South Tyneside.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 7:09 am

Scott Topping, 31, was caught on camera putting his head against his victim's inside Ridge House in Beach Road, South Shields.

His attack after drinking four cans of beer was so minor and brief as to cause no injury and the complainant did not make a statement to police, a court heard.

But the incident on Thursday, February 18, was reported, and officers attended after an emergency call.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The court heard the incident happened at Ridge House in Beach Road

Offshore worker Topping, now of Church View, Boldon Colliery, was charged with assault by beating, to which he pleaded guilty.

The former soldier, who served for four years with the Rifles, including in war-torn Afghanistan, has been fined £300.

Prosecutor Leanne Duffy told South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court: “Officers attended the property after a report of a resident having been assaulted.

“On arrival, they spoke to a male who said that he had been headbutted by the defendant.

“It was caught on CCTV, and showed the defendant carrying out the headbutt. The starting point is a medium level community sentence.

“The defendant has 19 previous convictions for 25 offences, the last was in May 2019.”

David Forrester, defending Topping said the incident had been a loss of control.

He said : “It’s right to say the individual who was subject to the assault made no complaint and no statement.

“The police also noted that there were no injuries. What happens is there’s a gentleman who is in Ridge House who is being unpleasant and abusive to Mr Topping.

“There’s no physical threats, and at no point did the other man move towards him, but Mr Topping has put his head on him.

“It was a loss of control, it was not premeditated. He has mental health issues that are ongoing.”

Mr Forrester said it was possible Topping was suffering post-traumatic stress disorder, although no diagnosis had yet been made.

He also revealed his client was working with Project Nova, an organisation that supports former services personnel.

Married Topping must also pay £85 court costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

You can subscribe to this website and enjoy unlimited access to local news, information and puzzles online. With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Simply click ‘Subscribe’ in the menu.