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Another violent assault

April 15 2011
Suspended sentence for man too drunk to remember attacking homeless woman

A man who attacked a homeless woman in Bournemouth last summer has escaped a jail sentence.

Daniel Preston, 24, a builder from Poole, assaulted Elin Mitchell while she was asleep in a doorway in the centre of Bournemouth and stole £10 from her. Ms Mitchell, who has been homeless since April 2010, said: "He kicked me in the head and took my money. It makes me scared to be out on the streets now."

Sentencing Mr Preston at Bournemouth Crown Court, the Recorder, Philippa Whipple, described his crime as "a really disgraceful act." Ms Whipple added: "You picked on a vulnerable single person and not only did you steal from her what little money she had, you kicked her to the side of the head. It was bullying, intimidating, foul behaviour. You were so drunk at the time you can’t remember."

Mr Preston was given a six-month sentence, suspended for 18 months. His lawyer put his client’s behaviour down to excessive drinking, saying: "It wasn’t motivated by anything. The explanation lies in the fact that he was dead drunk at the time. He did say he was sorry."

Speaking to the Bournemouth Echo, Daniel Preston said: "I was very drunk and I am sorry. It won’t happen again." As well as his suspended sentence, he has been ordered to do 100 hours of community service and attend an alcohol management programme.