Court hears witness evidence in assault case of para show jumper Susi Rogers-Hartley
PUBLISHED: 19:07 10 October 2018 | UPDATED: 08:24 11 October 2018
© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2015
Para show jumper Susi Rogers-Hartley has told a court how she was threatened and assaulted in a row outside her home.
Peter Shackloth, 57, and Kyle Fenton, 20, both of Lynn Road, Wiggenhall St. Germans, near King’s Lynn, appeared in King’s Lynn Magistrates’ Court today charged with using threatening behaviour against Ms Rogers-Hartley and possession of an offensive weapon.
Fenton was also charged with assaulting Ms Rogers Hartley in an incident which took place last year outside her home on August 20.
A third defendant, aged 17, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was charged with threatening Ms Rogers-Hartley and damaging her wheelchair controls as well as assaulting her partner Simon Wheeler and her neighbour Barbara Morris, all of whom appeared in court to give evidence.
Mrs Morris told the court via video link she had found her partner, John, on the phone to the police because of a disturbance outside her home.
She said three youths were outside including the juvenile defendant, who had been arguing with her next door neighbour - Susi Rogers-Hartley.
“[The juvenile] was threatening Susi,” she said. “Standing over her with fists raised.”
She said the juvenile had used foul language and offensive remarks about Ms Rogers-Hartley’s disability.
She ran across the road and shoved the juvenile away. She said the juvenile’s behaviour then “exploded” and that they punched another youth in the face causing them to bleed either from the nose or mouth.
At this point, Simon Wheeler arrived and the juvenile punched him on the head before pushing Mrs Morris, causing her to fall to the ground.
Mrs Morris, now in tears, said the juvenile made a phone call and a blue van “screeches to a halt” at the scene with Shackloth driving and Fenton as the passenger.
She told the court Shackloth was swinging an iron bar at her and she was “ducking and diving” while Fenton was arguing with Ms Rogers-Hartley with a crow bar in his hand.
She said Fenton broke the control stick on her wheelchair and aimed the crow bar at Ms Rogers-Hartley’s head, to which she grabbed onto. A struggle ensued and she was pulled out of the wheelchair, dragged across the road on her front and flipped over on her back.
She said the juvenile was wearing a light-coloured T-shirt and had a lot of tattoos.
But defence lawyers Andrew Cogan and Alison Muir disputed her evidence, stating that the punching of the youth causing a bloodied face, the foul language used by the defendant, the swinging of the iron bar and ducking and diving was not mentioned in her police witness statement.
Mrs Morris stated that the witness statement was taken four hours after the incident.
Appearing in court via video link, Ms Rogers-Hartley said she heard a “kerfuffle” outside her home between her neighbour’s partner and the juvenile. She had gone to “intervene and defuse” the situation by telling them both to go home.
She said the juvenile got into an argument with her, grabbed the joystick of her brand new wheelchair and broke it, causing £800 worth of damage.
The juvenile made a phone call and a blue van arrived with Shackloth and Fenton. She said Shackloth had in his hand what looked to be a crow bar and was hitting his palm with it.
She said Fenton came out of the vehicle with what looked to be a socket wrench and came at her, adding: “I thought he was going for my face.”
She took hold of the weapon and was pulled out of her wheelchair, dragged two metres down the road on her front and flipped on to her back. She said the two men were on top of her before Simon Wheeler “got the men off” and picked her up.
She told the court her hands were in a lot of pain and as a result of the assault and her injuries she was unable to compete in riding competitions.
She said the juvenile wore a black, long-sleeved top with white writing on the front and Fenton had worn a short-sleeved T-shirt with a tattoo on his neck.
Defence lawyers Andrew Cogan and Alison Muir told Ms Rogers-Hartley that there was no medical evidence given to the police about the extent of her injuries and no mention of her being flipped on her back.
Mr Cogan also suggested that she had tried to run over the defendants’ feet with her wheelchair, adding that she was making up her story.
But Ms Rogers-Hartley said the statement to the police was made four hours after the incident and scoffed at the suggestion she tried to run over the defendants, stating: “I think you’re a bit out of order for saying that.”
Appearing in court, Simon Wheeler said he had heard the juvenile get into a fight with Ms Rogers-Hartley.
He grabbed a broom by the front door but that he did not use it as an offensive weapon, although he admitted he had been swearing.
He described how he was punched in the head by the juvenile and that the blue van arrived at speed with Shackloth holding a metal weapon and Fenton carrying a wrench. He said Fenton was struggling with Ms Rogers-Hartley over the weapon and that she was pulled out of her wheelchair and dragged down the road.
He said he had got to her before the defendants did and after they got away in the blue van the police arrived and took statements “within seconds.”
Mr Wheeler could not recall what the juvenile wore but said that Kyle Fenton had worn a light grey top. The defence stated that Mr Wheeler was being aggressive with the broom and that he had threatened to impale the juvenile.
Mr Wheeler denied this although admitted he had told the juvenile he would “hit him on the bottom” with it.
When he was asked by the defence whether Ms Rogers-Hartley was flipped on her back after being dragged across the road, Mr Wheeler replied no.
The trial continues on Thursday.