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The Evening Gazette
Jul 26 2008
by Mike Morgan, Evening Gazette
A FORMER Teesside vicar forced a door before launching punches and kicks at a father and son.
William Barnes, 50, an ex-vicar at Dormanstown and one-time religious education teacher at Gillbrook College, South Bank, also armed himself with a walking stick during the attack, a court heard.
He admitted two charges of assault over a family dispute against father and son Michael and Mark Gladders, at Saltburn, when he appeared at Langbaurgh East Magistrates’ Court.
Barnes, of Cropton Close, Redcar, had been suffering from an undiagnosed mood disorder at the time of the offences, the court was told.
The former vicar had no previous convictions prior to the incident.
But the court heard that on July 11 at Teesside Crown Court, he was given a suspended prison sentence for dangerous driving and drink-driving and banned for 18 months.
Chairman of the Bench Paul Cegla said magistrates accepted the offences were committed due to his state of mind because of family circumstances at the time.
They reduced his sentence due to his guilty pleas.
Afterwards, Barnes told the Gazette he accepted the magistrates’ decision.
He said: “It was a very unfortunate time in my life health-wise.
“I had a mood disorder, which was undiagnosed, which is now being treated.
“Myself and my family are now moving on and the quicker we can put this behind us, the better.”
Noelle Brockbank, prosecuting, said Mark Gladders was the father of two sons and Michael Gladders was their grandfather. Barnes was their stepfather, having married Mark Gladders’ ex-wife.
She said that on February 12 Michael was at home with his wife and Mark.
He answered the doorbell and Barnes, who was shouting abuse, tried to push his way in.
She said: “Barnes forced the door and Michael was pushed on to his back.
“The defendant kicked him several times to his legs and body.
“Then he picked up a walking stick and held it with both hands trying to strike Michael.
“He then started punching out at him.”
Son Mark then tried to intervene, but was punched in the face, she said.
Barnes left, but neither knew why he had come to the house.
Mr Gladders snr went to the doctor and was diagnosed with a possible rib fracture.
Mark received a cut inside lip.
In a statement, Mark said: “The attack was very aggressive.”
Craig Beer, defending Barnes, said: “These offences came out of a very troubled period in Mr Barnes’ life.
“Mark Gladders is Mr Barnes’ wife’s former husband and father of his stepchildren.
“Since they split up, Mark has moved back to live at home with his father.
“Mr Barnes was on anti-depressants and drinking heavily.”
Mr Beer said Barnes was the ex-vicar of Dormanstown and a man who had “personal and family issues”.
He added: “He resigned from the clergy as a result of depression and at the time of these offences was suffering this and it just escalated.
“My client has very little recollection of what occurred.
“He knows he got angry. It was an argument between father, step-father and grandfather.”
Barnes, who is now on income support, was given a conditional discharge for 18 months, with costs of £60, for the assaults on February 12.