A jealous lover who found his friend in bed with his girlfriend picked up a knife and threatened to kill him before attacking him with a baseball bat, a court has heard.
Tree surgeon Matthew Fielding flew into a rage at 3am on December 17, 2017 in a ‘textbook’ case of ‘seeing red and losing control’, a judge at Lewes Crown Court heard today.
Fielding, 32, of Lennox Road in Worthing, was sentenced today for assault causing actual bodily harm, threats to kill and common assault, all of which he had pleaded guilty to.
Prosecutor Jonathan Underhill told the court: “Matthew Duell and friends went to the Corner House around two o’clock in the afternoon [the day before].
“He was joined about eight o’clock by Leigh-Anne Mundey. She had been in an on and off relationship with this defendant.”
The prosecutor told the court that after staying at the pub until midnight, the pair went to Miss Mundey’s flat where they continued drinking. Around 3am the pair fell asleep in the same bed.
If there is a textbook seeing red and losing control this is itJason Halsey, defence barrister
He continued: “Mr Duell then explained that the next thing he is aware of is being woken up while being struck in the face.
“Whilst Mr Fielding doesn’t accept this, Mr Duell says he was struck three times to the face.
“Mr Duell [said] he was bleeding heavily from the mouth and nose.”
Mr Duell tried to leave and the pair found themselves in the kitchen, where Fielding picked up a knife and threatened to kill Mr Duel, the prosecutor said.
The altercation spilled out into the corridor, where the prosecution said Fielding attacked Mr Duell with a baseball bat and Miss Mundey is ‘caught in the crossfire’.
Defending Fielding, Jason Halsey said: “It is agreed that there was a sustained and repeated assault with fists.
“It is certainly agreed that the knife was used as alleged.”
He told the court that Fielding had been ‘out drinking all night’ and came home to find his partner of parts of the last five years ‘in bed with somebody who was a friend’.
Mr Halsey added: “His reaction is not excusable in any way.
“If there is a textbook seeing red and losing control this is it.”
He pointed to Fielding’s guilty pleas and the fact he does not have a history of violence, asking the judge to suspend any prison sentence.
Passing sentence, judge Charles Kemp told Fielding: “Your reaction was totally disproportionate and unlawful.
“There are a number of references which say that this is wholly out of character for you.
“But this sort of conduct is totally unacceptable.”
Judge Kemp gave him credit for his guilty pleas.
Fielding was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years.
He was ordered to complete 160 hours of unpaid work ‘for the benefit of the community’ and must pay a victim surcharge.