Man swung golf club at mum in ‘despicable’ attack

NEWS from Nottingham Crown Court.
NEWS from Nottingham Crown Court.

A teenager swung a golf club at his mother and punched her in the face in a drunken attack at their Newstead home that was described by a judge as “absolutely despicable”.

“You could have killed her if you had hit in her in the wrong place,” Judge Stuart Rafferty told 18-year-old Leei Duffield, of Tilford Road, who pleaded guilty to assault.

“She is someone who loves you and was just trying to help. You make her life a misery. What is the matter with you?”

Nottingham Crown Court heard that Duffield had “clear problems when losing his temper with his mother and other relatives”.

Mark Knowles, prosecuting, said this rumpus arose on Saturday, April 25 last year when he returned home with a girlfriend after a night out drinking.

“There was a loud dispute upstairs, and Duffield smashed through a door with a golf club. He could see his mother through a hole in the door and swung the club. She put her hands up to protect herself and was struck, breaking two bones in one of her hands.

“He then punched her in the face. She went downstairs, distressed, and the police were called before Duffield was arrested in the early hours of the morning.”

Mr Knowles said the attack bore “all the hallmarks of a sustained assault on a vulnerable victim”, and he revealed that Duffield had a string of previous offences on his record. On one occasion, he smashed the windows at his grandmother’s house because he couldn’t wake her in order to get in.

However, the court also heard that his mother was prepared to forgive him and had sent a letter to the judge, saying that she hadn’t wanted to press charges and telling how much she and his brother and sister missed him.

Adrian Reynolds, mitigating, said: “Mrs Duffield wants him back. Her concern has always been that he suffers from ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and that he needs help. She would be horrified if he ended up in prison.

“His ADHD has caused him great difficulties. Yes, this was a barbaric offence, but his behaviour has improved since then. He has not been in further trouble, and he has twice found work.

“His main problem is that he has just been desperately immature. But there are now signs that he is growing up.”

After reading a pre-sentence report, prepared by the probation service, and also a psychiatric report, Judge Rafferty sentenced Duffield to 15 months’ detention in a young offenders’ institution, but suspended it for two years.

“You’ll go down if you lay another finger on your mother,” he told the defendant. “You don’t know how fortunate you are. She is a good mother, and you treated her like dirt. This was a serious offence and absolutely despicable -- just because you were drunk and wanted to show off in front of a girl.

“If you come back to this court, woe betide you. You get this chance and not another.”

Duffield was also ordered to take part in a Thinking Skills programme to help him with his problems.