Hungerford man convicted of assaulting Two Saints hostel worker in Newbury
A HUNGERFORD man has been convicted of assaulting a member of staff at a homeless hostel.
Alex Richard Stalker, of North View Heights, had denied the charge, insisting he was acting in self defence.
But magistrates did not believe his account, and the 27-year-old was convicted following a trial at Reading Magistrates' Court on Thursday, June 17.
Dana Patel, prosecuting, showed the court CCTV footage of Mr Stalker lunging at support worker Andy Keast and twice shoving him in the chest at the Two Saints hostel in Newbury.
Mr Keast told magistrates he had been trying to defuse a confrontation between Mr Stalker and a young woman resident when he was attacked.
Mr Keast said: "He was shouting 'get out of the way' and trying to make contact with the female.'"
He added that Mr Stalker then became aggressive towards him, shouting "come on" at him before the assault.
Mr Keast went on: "I tried to maintain a distance - it's part of our training. He was like he was going to go through me; I put my arms up in an instinctive defence mechanism."
Mr Keast's account was backed by a colleague who also gave evidence.
Mr Stalker denied assaulting Mr Keast by beating him at around 5.50pm on Friday, January 8.
He told the court he had feared Mr Keast, rather than making a conciliatory gesture, had been going to attack him as he had come towards him with his hands outstretched towards him.
Under cross examination and asked why he had reacted the way he did, Mr Stalker said: "In my life, if people walk towards you like that....when it's self defence you make sure someone isn't going to come at you again."
After watching the CCTV footage once more, magistrates retired to confer before delivering a guilty verdict.
Mr Stalker also has previous convictions for 16 offences, the court heard, including battery and breaching a non molestation order.
For the latest offence Mr Stalker was fined £40 and ordered to pay a statutory victim services surcharge of £34.
No order was made for costs because of his lack of means to pay but Mr Stalker was ordered to pay Mr Keast £50 compensation.