A MOTHER has been cleared of stabbing a neighbour who she accused of bullying her nine-year-old daughter.
Sian Allsebrook and her ex-partner Mark Thrift went a few doors down the road from their home in Appledore to confront Stephen Sylvester because they thought he had threatened their daughter with a hammer.
Thrift kicked his way in through the front door and Mr Sylvester, who is known locally as Birdseye, suffered a small stab wound in his back in the argument.
Both parents denied causing the injury and Thrift was cleared of wounding at a trial at Exeter Crown Court in July.
Allsebrook, 34, of The Mount, Appledore, denied wounding and criminal damage and was also found not guilty at a fresh hearing after the prosecution offered no evidence.
Thrift, 31, who lives in Reading and had gone to North Devon to help sort out the dispute, admitted criminal damage and was conditionally discharged for a year.
Judge Phillip Wassall praised the prosecution’s decision to abandon the case against Allsebrook as common sense and said it had been apparent at the trial there were problems with the evidence.
He told Thrift: “I am taking into account what you have been through to get this far in this case and have come to the conclusion it would be inexpedient to punish you.
“Had the criminal damage stood on its own, it may well not have come to court at all.
“The problem in this case is that the evidence turned out to be different to what appeared in the papers.”
The trial in July heard how the angry parents went to Mr Sylvester’s home in the same estate late at night and Thrift kicked in a door panel before they both climbed in to confront him.
He said there was a short scuffle between him and Allsebrook but he never saw a weapon and did not know he had been injured until police were called and saw blood on his shirt.
Both parents denied taking a knife to the house or using it.
Their trial was stopped before either had a chance to give their side of the story to the jury but they told police at the time they were upset by what they considered to be bullying of their daughter.
They said Mr Sylvester had previously falsely accused Allsebrook of burgling his house and had threatened her daughter with a hammer, an incident which he denied had taken place.