Suspended jail term for Portsmouth man who punched woman

Vandal smashes car window on Hayling Island

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A THUG who punched a woman at a house party and was then caught with drugs has avoided going to jail.

Dale Hodgkins assaulted Sophie Reid and Wayne Cornish after his friend was thrown out of the party in Jervis Road, Stamshaw, for taking drugs.

When police went to his home in Cross Street, Somers Town, Portsmouth, to question him they found he was growing five cannabis plants in a tent in his bedroom.

The 29-year-old committed the offences while he had a suspended sentence hanging over him for offences of fraud.

The trainee plumber was given the six-month suspended sentence after paying for £7,000 of plumbing supplies using his former employer’s account.

In all he has previous convictions for 28 offences.

But Portsmouth Crown Court heard that since his arrest in November last year Hodgkins had tried to turn his life around.

Damian Hayes, defending, said: ‘The prospect of custody fills him with dread.’

Hodgkins was found guilty of the two assaults after a trial at the magistrates’ court. He pleaded guilty to the charge of production of cannabis.

Recorder Nicholas Haggan QC said: ‘You became involved in a fight that occurred at a private party. A number of individuals were involved in that fight. I have no doubt it was an unpleasant incident.’

Hodgkins was given another a 20-week jail sentence suspended for 12 months and told to do 100 hours of unpaid work.

Recorder Haggan warned him: ‘You have come very close and I think you know that.’