Neighbor lashes out at ‘vulnerable’ man, leaving him disfigured over argument
WARNING SOOTHING CONTENT Plymouth Crown Court heard Matthew Bennellick brutally attack his neighbor in St Budeaux after a long dispute over a planning application
Image: PlymouthLive/BPM MEDIA)
A father-of-two has been jailed after brutally attacking a “vulnerable” neighbor who was left disfigured and forced to drink from a straw.
Matthew Bennellick attacked Andrew Tucker while he was in his front yard on July 23, 2021 over a long-standing dispute over a “building inspector’s application.”
Plymouth Crown Court was told Mr Tucker spent several days in hospital after the attack and had surgeries that placed four metal plates in his face and head.
Mr. Tucker’s left eye is now permanently lower than his right and he suffered nerve damage to his lip and nose, requiring him to use a straw to drink, he said PlymouthLive.
Prosecutor Sophie Johns said Bennellick went to his neighbor in St Budeaux on the day of the attack and grabbed Mr Tucker by the throat before throwing him to the ground, after which he hit him “15 or 20 times”.
Ms Johns said Bennellick yelled “Die, b***ard” and told the older man to “stay downstairs”. He finally pulled over and yelled, “Do you need an ambulance, I’ll get you a friggin’ ambulance.”
Ms Bennellick called an ambulance, as did Mr Tucker, and he was taken to Derriford Hospital, where he was diagnosed with “complicated facial fractures with lifelong implications”.
These included a fractured skull, a ruptured eye socket, and pooling of blood behind his left eye, causing temporary vision loss. He also suffered a brain hemorrhage.
Ms Johns said Bennellick, who has no prior convictions or warnings, was sitting on his sofa with an ice pack on his ankles when he was arrested.
He later told police Mr Tucker raised his hand while holding a trowel and hit him “three or four times”.
Speaking in court about the victim’s effects, Mr. Tucker said he had suffered from “sepsis-related Crohn’s disease” since he was young and underwent surgery in March 2021, after which he recovered.
He said the attack left him permanently disfigured and that he was embarrassed as people frequently commented on his appearance.
He went on to say that despite moving from the area to Grimsby in October 2021, Bennellick “still didn’t feel safe in my own home”.
And he added that Bennellick is “twice my height and weight” and “quite aware of my Crohn’s disease.”
For mitigation, Michael Green asked the judge, Mr Recorder Matthew Turner, to identify the “context” of the case, namely the long-standing dispute between the two neighbors which did not justify the attack, but stressed that it was not a random incident .
Mr Recorder Turner confirmed Mr Green’s argument that Bennellick would not have been “crazy” and acting out of character if the matter had not gone to court, although he noted that that was no excuse for what had happened.
Mr Green reiterated that his client said the ‘red mist had come down’ and that he ‘fully admits he ‘lost it’.
Mr Recorder Turner said the only response to such a “continued, sustained attack” on a “vulnerable man” with “unreasonable violence” was imprisonment.
He sentenced Bennellick to 14 months in prison, half of which he would serve before being released from licence. He ordered no costs or compensation, but said Bennellick had to pay a victim’s surcharge.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/neighbour-batters-vulnerable-man-leaving-27004578 Neighbor lashes out at 'vulnerable' man, leaving him disfigured over argument