Pensioner hit solicitor in face over prostitute ban, court hears

This Is Wiltshire: Allan Thipthorpe with Terri-Lee Pearce Allan Thipthorpe with Terri-Lee Pearce

PENSIONER Allan Thipthorpe hit a Swindon Council solicitor in the face over an order stopping him from having contact with a convicted prostitute, a court heard.

Disabled military veteran Thipthorpe, who uses a mobility scooter, allegedly attacked Francis Maples during a meeting at the civic offices in Euclid Street.

Mr Maples made a complaint to police over the punch, said to have been caught on CCTV, and the widower was interviewed and charged with assault by beating.

Mr Maples had secured an Asbo banning Terri-Lee Pearce from Swindon Council-run old people’s homes on the grounds that she had fleeced Thipthorpe of savings amounting to nearly £5,000.

The former prostitute was also banned from contacting the pensioner under the order made last June.

But Thipthorpe later told the Adver that he thought of the 31-year-old as his carer and had a right to spend his money as he saw fit. He attended Swindon Magistrates’ Court yesterday (WED) but waited outside the courtroom while solicitors asked for the case to be adjourned.

Rob Ross, defending, told the court: “You’ll probably be aware of Mr Thipthorpe. He’s an 88-year-old man involved in Asbo proceedings when a young lady was made an Asbo in relation to not seeing him. He objected to that and the long and short of it is he ended up hitting Mr Maples.”

Mr Ross told the court his client, who lives in sheltered housing at Elizabeth House in Walcot, had admitted to the assault in police interview and would not be contesting the offence.

Mr Ross said: “He’s an 88-year-old man with no previous convictions. I would ask the crown why it’s necessary to leave an 88-year-old man with a record, why no mind was given to cautioning him?”

James Burnham, prosecuting, said: “I would be reluctant to advise an unconditional caution.

“A conditional caution would be suitable in view of his age and lack of remorse at the time.

“I was going to suggest – more than suggest, require – that he write a letter of apology to the victim and offer a nominal sum of compensation of £20.”

District Judge Simon Cooper agreed to adjourn the case until May 28 for the caution to be issued, but warned the prosecution would go ahead if no action was taken.

Thipthorpe, who did not enter a plea, will not be required to attend the next hearing.

Swindon Council CCTV is understood to show him getting out of his scooter and punching Mr Maples in the face during the meeting on December 19 last year.

Mr Maples has previously told the Adver: “The council has legal and moral duties to do all that it can to prevent anti-social behaviour, especially when it is impacting adversely on vulnerable people.

“In this case the council has acted in response to, firstly police concerns following Miss Pearce having apparently got an old man out of bed late at night and taken him to Tescos where an attempt was made to draw his money which was witnessed by an alert security officer.

“And secondly, concerns of residents of the Elizabeth House sheltered housing scheme who have been alarmed and distressed by the presence of Miss Pearce on their premises, eg one elderly lady refers to the need to keep her doors and windows locked in consequence.”

But both Miss Pearce and Thipthorpe said she had done nothing wrong.

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