A nephew has admitted that he attacked a man who ended up stabbing his uncle to death in ‘self defence’ during a violent confrontation earlier this year.
The man who Mitchell While assaulted was accused of murdering his uncle David Carpenter during the disturbance at the home of Nicola Bennett in Halesowen. But the murder charge against Miss Bennett’s new partner Ian Swinburne, who claimed he was acting in self defence when he stabbed Mr Carpenter, was later dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.
The tragedy happened in Graham Road, Halesowen on February 3.
While, of Bodenham Road, Brandhall, Oldbury, was at first charged with affray. The 29-year-old denied the allegation when he appeared before Wolverhampton Crown Court yesterday and the prosecution agreed to drop that charge, accepting instead his pleas of guilty to using threatening behaviour and common assault against Ian Swinburne.
Mrs Aliya Rashid, prosecuting, told Judge Mark Eades: “This has been an extremely tragic incident – it was tragedy at its highest.”
Mrs Rashid said the pleas had been accepted as a ‘pragmatic approach’ so that the witnesses did not have to relive the incident in court. Neighbours had corroborated the story of ‘banging, kicking and shouting’ outside Miss Bennett’s house before the door was forced open.
“As a result, Mr Swinburne suffered a bite mark to his back and injuries to his face,” said Mrs Rashid.
“The tragedy was Miss Bennett lost her ex-partner of 21 years and Mr While lost his uncle.”
Mr Charjit Jutla, defending, said While had no previous convictions.
He added: “It’s plain the prosecution has taken a compassionate view in the circumstances.”
The judge adjourned sentencing until October 28 and allowed While’s bail on condition that he stays away from witnesses and does not go near to Graham Road.
After the tragedy, Miss Bennett, then aged 46, told the Express & Star that she and Mr Swinburne were watching television at her home when David Carpenter, 47, and While broke through the front door.
“On the night that this happened both Ian and I feared for our lives and Ian reacted totally in self defence,” she said. “It’s been an extremely distressing time for me and my family, for Ian – and for David’s family.”
When Mr Swinburne, aged 49, of Stourbridge Road, Brierley Hill, appeared before Dudley magistrates on February 7, his solicitor Michael Davies told the court that he had never come across a stronger case of self defence.
The Crown Prosecution Service, two weeks later, said the murder charge – and a separate allegation that Mr Swinburne had assaulted While – were being dropped following fresh medical evidence about Mr Carpenter’s death from a stab wound to the chest.