herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Man cleared in stab case 'living in a van'

A FATHER-of-seven acquitted of stabbing his neighbour in the neck in an alleged row is now living in a van with his wife after the family left the house, a court heard.

William Stokes (50) told a judge he has been forced to leave his home of 15 years, blaming the neighbour who claimed to have been assaulted.

Judge Bridget Reilly dismissed the case against Mr Stokes.

She also decided not to bind him to the peace.

Mr Stokes pleaded not guilty at Dublin District Court to assault causing harm to John Maughan at Kimmage Manor Way, Terenure.

He had been accused of assaulting Mr Maughan as he cut an overgrown boundary hedge between their homes.

Mr Maughan claimed he was stabbed in the neck with an unknown object and witnessed the accused shouting: "I got the b***ard."

He told the court he was trimming the hedge when he suffered a blow from "out of the blue".

He said he was left bleeding from a laceration, after which doctors told him he was "lucky to be alive".

Mr Stokes denied any involvement and insisted he was in bed at the time.

Mr Stokes said he was "living in fear" of Mr Maughan, had since fled his home and was now living in a van with his wife and daughter.

Judge Bridget Reilly dismissed the charge, saying she did not believe Mr Maughan could have seen the defendant over the tall hedge.

hnews@herald.ie

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