Attacker who floored man in South Shields phone box believed he was 'being a good Samaritan'

A South Tyneside attacker believed he was a good Samaritan when he floored a man standing in a town centre phone box

Darren Hepplewhite, 40, had been told his victim had verbally abused a woman in King Street, South Shields, a court heard.

Hepplewhite, of Wallington Grove, Woodbine Estate, also South Shields, retaliated by opening the kiosk’s door and knocking him down with a single punch.

Prosecutor Sarah Malkinson told South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court: “There was a man standing in a telephone kiosk.

The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

“The defendant was seen on CCTV to go up to the kiosk and open the door and deliver a punch to the man’s head. He has then walked away.

“The male who was hit falls to the floor and gets up and goes to the defendant and they hug.”

Hepplewhite pleaded guilty to using threatening behaviour with intent to cause fear of unlawful violence after the incident, which happened at around 2.20am on Monday, November 8.

He has 16 previous convictions from 23 offences, including four for public order crimes, the last in 2009, the court heard.

David Forrester, defending, said: “It’s 2am. He’s had more to drink than he should have.

“He opens the door and jabs the man, it’s not a very smart thing to do. There was no escalation.

“When you look at the phone box where the man gets struck, Mr Hepplewhite is talking to a female and she has told him the man had abused her.

“The man who was struck didn’t want to make a complaint. Mr Hepplewhite felt he was being a good Samaritan.”

Magistrates fined Hepplewhite £120, with £85 court costs and a £34 victim surcharge.