Cumbria

Man guilty of street attack on Barrow MP John Woodcock

John Woodcock Image copyright John Woodcock
Image caption John Woodcock quit as a Labour MP last year

A man has been found guilty of attacking a Cumbrian MP in a street altercation in the Lake District.

Independent John Woodcock, who represents Barrow-in-Furness, said he suffered grazing to the knee in the incident in Ambleside last June.

Barrow Magistrates' Court heard the assault came after Mr Woodcock confronted two men who stepped in front of a car driven by his girlfriend.

Michael Wilkes, 27, was given a 12-month community order.

Wilkes, of Headland Rise, Walney, had argued the MP "threw himself" to the floor during the altercation to fabricate an assault.

But District Judge Gerald Chalk found Wilkes guilty of battery in pushing over Mr Woodcock, adding that he did not find Wilkes to be a "credible witness".

The court heard Mr Woodcock fell backwards on to the steps of a chemist's shop and received a 1cm graze to his right knee and a bruised elbow.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ms Hardman said she was forced to brake suddenly

Peter Bardsley, prosecuting, said Mr Woodcock and his partner, Isabel Hardman - assistant editor of The Spectator magazine - were driving through the Lake District town at about 19:30 when they said two men stepped in front of the vehicle as Ms Hardman negotiated a blind corner.

Ms Hardman told the court via videolink that she was forced to brake suddenly and that two men gesticulated and swore at her.

She said after Mr Woodcock got out of the car and speak to them, she saw him "flying back very quickly and landing like he had been pushed or thrown".

Wilkes told police he had drunk five or six pints of lager by the time of the incident.

The judge said Wilkes must also complete 60 hours of unpaid work and pay £150 compensation and £705 court costs.

Mr Woodcock quit as a Labour MP last July after the party suspended him over claims that he sent inappropriate messages to a former female member of staff, which he denies.

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