Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Petsitter Caught on CCTV Hitting Neighbour with Pickaxe Handle

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Petsitter Caught on CCTV Hitting Neighbour with Pickaxe Handle

Article excerpt

Byline: Gareth Lightfoot Court Reporter

A FORMER petsitter who hit his neighbour with a pickaxe handle in a row over a dog has narrowly avoided prison.

Christopher Secker, 44, was captured on CCTV kneeling over his 57-yearold neighbour punching her in an unprovoked attack, a court heard.

Now a two-year restraining order bans him from having any contact with her - despite still living next door.

"There's been some history between the two. They didn't get on very well," prosecutor Penny Bottomley told Teesside Crown Court . Secker took umbrage and armed himself after his neighbour found a Westie dog whimpering outside her home and arranged for its owner to collect it.

He worked for the Petpals pet care service at the time and had been looking after the dog.

He went up to his neighbour saying: "You've got one of my dogs."

He was aggressive and grabbed the dog lead, lifting the dog off the ground and swinging it, said Miss Bottomley.

The woman asked him to watch the dog, to which he replied: "Let go of it then, you stupid cow."

He raised the pickaxe handle and struck her to the temple area, the court was told.

The shocked victim said her glasses came off and Secker punched her to the head and body. She fell to the ground shouting and screaming for help.

Secker also attacked her sister, bending her thumb back.

The two women were bruised and later described being in pain and feeling emotional and angry.

His neighbour said she would "never forgive" him, she felt unsafe and since spent PS600 on security.

Secker, of Church Lane, Eston, admitted assault causing actual bodily harm, common assault and possessing an offensive weapon - his first conviction.

Kelleigh Lodge, defending, said he used the pickaxe handle to bat balls for his dogs, but took it out "for his protection" as a "warning" after longrunning hostility and an ongoing boundary dispute with his neighbour. …

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