Man hit a taxi driver and head-butted a fridge

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A MAN who punched and head-butted a fridge, was caught drinking and driving and hit a taxi driver in an allegedly racially motivated assault has been sentenced to 110 hours of community service.

Mark Christopher James Goodchild (36) committed the offences between August and mid-September this year – a period which Assistant Magistrate Peter Harris described as ‘a problematic four weeks or so’.

But he stopped short of sending Goodchild to prison, despite the fact that he had a previous record ‘littered with various offences’.

Advocate Jordan Gollop, prosecuting, told the Magistrate’s Court that Goodchild had been caught drinking and driving at 10.15pm on the evening of 17 August.

Goodchild’s car had broken down and a member of the public who stopped to speak to him noticed he was slurring his words, so contacted the police.

A breath test at the station showed a reading of 59 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal maximum is 35 micrograms.

The advocate added that Goodchild visited a woman’s house three days later, at 5am. She asked him to leave, believing him to be either drunk or on drugs.

‘He lost his temper and punched and head-butted the fridge. It was witnessed by her children.’

The woman took refuge by getting into her car with her younger child and locking the doors. ‘He proceeded to damage the vehicle,’ Advocate Gollop said.

And at midnight on 14 September Goodchild had got into a ‘verbal altercation’ with a taxi driver near the Royal Yacht Hotel.

Advocate Gollop said Goodchild had shouted abuse at the driver, including racially prejudiced language, before slapping him.

He added: ‘He has a record littered with various relevant offences.’

There were convictions for assault, grave and criminal assault, being drunk and disorderly, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

Goodchild admitted drinking and driving, assault, behaving in a threatening or abusive manner and malicious damage.

Advocate Chris Baglin, defending, disputed whether Goodchild had used racist language towards the taxi driver, arguing: ‘The assault arose out of the altercation and not out of any racial motivation.

‘It was a single blow. He accepts that without drink it wouldn’t have happened.

‘He needs to stay off booze – that is the beginning, middle and end of it.’

He added that Goodchild had not drunk alcohol for the last month. And he said of the offences: ‘Taken on their own they are at the lower end.’

Mr Harris said he was giving Goodchild credit for his guilty pleas and accepted he had behavioural difficulties with which he was getting some help.

Imposing the community sentence, he said: ‘These four offences were committed during the course of a problematic four weeks or so.

‘This is your chance to avoid prison. You won’t get another chance if you don’t make a proper effort.

‘If you mess up you will find yourself going to La Moye.’

He also imposed a 12-month probation order and banned him from driving for 18 months.

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