War veteran to back Asbo friend in court
AN 88-YEAR-OLD military veteran will give evidence at the trial of a woman banned from seeing him by an anti-social behaviour order. Allan Thipthorpe will appear for the defence to support Terri-Lee Pearce – even though he is supposed to be the victim of her behaviour.
Miss Pearce, 31, is accused of twice breaching an Asbo which forbids her from contacting him.
The trial will take place at Swindon Magistrates’ Court instead of the court at Chippenham after an exceptional direction was made to accommodate the pensioner, who uses a mobility scooter.
He has complained that the Asbo is unfair because Miss Pearce is his carer.
During an appearance at the Swindon court yesterday she denied breaching the Asbo. Both offences are alleged to have taken place in February.
The Asbo secured by Swindon Council last June prohibits the mother-of-two from visiting Mr Thipthorpe’s sheltered home at Elizabeth House, in Queen’s Drive, Walcot, or surrounding areas as defined by a map. She is also banned from arranging for a third party to contact the pensioner and from visiting any Swindon Council-run sheltered housing building in the town. Prosecutor Vyvyan Thatcher told the court: “Mr Thipthorpe is 88 years old. The Asbo was placed on the defendant indefinitely without any expiry time.”
The Asbo was intended to protect Mr Thipthorpe from giving money to Miss Pearce, but he has since said it is up to him how he spends his cash and who he spends time with. For Miss Pearce, Rob Ross said: “There is only one defence witness, plus Miss Pearce. “The defence witness is Mr Thipthorpe. He’s 88, he’s in an electric wheelchair and so as long as he’s moved into court he’s perfectly compos mentis.” Magistrates made a rare direction for the hearing to take place in Swindon instead of the court at Chippenham, which usually handles trials.
Chairman Michael Sutton said: “We direct exceptionally this trial be held here in Swindon.”
Miss Pearce, from Abbey Meads, was granted unconditional bail ahead of the hearing on August 7.
She spoke only to confirm her name, age and address and to enter her pleas.
Mr Sutton told her: “You must be here for that trial. If you fail to appear without reasonable cause it could take place without you and the verdict could go against you.”