Man assaulted two residents at Ilfracombe home

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple - Credit: Archant

The resident of Hilldales Residential Home was charged with two counts of assault.

A SCHIZOPHRENIC man was given a conditional discharge by magistrates after pleading guilty to two counts of assault.

Dennis Cowley, 56, of Hilldales Residential Home in Ilfracombe, was charged with assaulting two residents of the home on two different occasions.

The first incident occurred when Cowley had gone to the kitchen to get a glass of water ‘because he had missed breakfast and was thirsty’.

He saw a fellow resident in the kitchen making tea who swore at him, and he responded by hitting him with his cup and pushing him.


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The victim, who was in his 80s, fell to the floor and suffered a laceration to the head.

Debbie Bakehouse, defending, said Cowley could not remember pushing him.

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Less than two weeks later Cowley was in the communal smoking area when another resident moved the ash tray away from him.

Miss Bakehouse said Cowley then made the ‘foolish decision’ of striking the man with the metal ash tray over the head.

Magistrates heard Cowley suffered from a number of mental health problems and received around £20 pocket money a week which he spent smoking around 50 cigarettes daily.

They heard this was common for schizophrenia sufferers, and that awarding compensation to the victims from Cowley’s pocket money could anger him more.

He was given a conditional discharge for 12 months and lead magistrate Jane Woodhams said: “We have not awarded compensation because we feel it would not be beneficial for anybody. We feel it could cause Mr Cowley to become angrier.”

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