Drunk avoids jail for homophobic abuse of women who reported him to police for drink-driving

Richard Hatton and victim Ingrid Peters
Richard Hatton and victim Ingrid Peters
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AN ALCOHOLIC slashed his girlfriend’s hair with a knife at the end of a bizarre booze-fuelled spree sparked after he was reported for drink-driving.

Richard Hatton’s neighbours spotted him staggering from his car at his home in Daffodil Way, Havant, and called 999.

I want to live my life without fear of Mr Hatton

Victim Sarah Bates

The 54-year-old was arrested and bailed – but just five days later he barged his way into witnesses Sarah Bates and Kayleigh Welch’s home, a court heard.

The pair tried to force him back but he got his foot over the threshold before he was then shoved from the house.

Self-employed electrician Hatton had earlier put a note through their door saying: ‘By the way you had it wrong, but thanks for ruining my life.’

He was later found guilty of drink-driving with 136 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – nearly four times the 35mg limit.

Police arrested him again but he ended up in court for shouting homophobic abuse at Ms Bates and Ms Welch, who are in a relationship together.

Andrew Newman, prosecuting, said Hatton stood in his doorway shouting homophobic abuse at the couple, who had only just moved to the area from Leigh Park.

Portsmouth magistrates heard Hatton was arrested again for assault on his girlfriend when he cut her hair with a knife at their home.

Reading Ms Bates’ victim statement in court, Mr Newman said: ‘I cannot go to sleep. I find myself waking suddenly looking out the window to make sure Mr Hatton is not there.’

Ms Bates added she ‘locks herself away’ so she is safe from Hatton.

‘I want to live my life without fear of Mr Hatton or any other neighbour,’ her statement added.

In her statement, Ms Welch said she was ‘offended’ by the homophobic abuse and since coming out aged 11 had never experienced a comment like it.

‘It had made it uncomfortable, we have to pass his house to get to our cars, we worry what we might find when we get there,’ she said.

James Brotherton, representing Hatton, said his client had been drinking during each of the four incidents.

He added: ‘Has he really realised how stupid he has been including his drunken behaviour? I’m sure he’s probably not, he has been somewhat self-absorbed.’ But he said Hatton does now realise and is getting help.

Chairman Miles Spencer-Shaw sentenced Hatton to a 16-week term suspended for a year with 25 rehabilitation activity days to complete.

Hatton was banned from driving for 34 months and must pay £200 prosecution costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

A restraining order bans him from contacting the couple – who live just a few houses away from him.

Hatton pleaded guilty to assault by beating on April 10, witness intimidation on February 25, using threatening, abusive words, behaviour or disorderly behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress on February 23 and was found guilty of drink-driving on February 20.