Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting DN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
No jail for attacker after Brierley Hill victim killed man in self defence
10:54am Tuesday 29th October 2013 in Local
A MAN involved in an attack where his uncle was stabbed to death has avoided time behind bars.
Mitchell While, aged 29, and his uncle, David Carpenter, burst into the home of Carpenter's former partner while she was with her new boyfriend - Brierley Hill man Ian Swinburne.
There was a fight in which punches were thrown and 47-year-old Mr Carpenter was fatally stabbed in the chest by Mr Swinburne.
Mr Swinburne, 49, was later charged with murder but the case against him was dropped after it was accepted he had been acting in self defence.
While, of Bodenham Road, Brandhall, admitted common assault on Mr Swinburne, of Stourbridge Road, and also using threatening words and behaviour.
Judge Robin Onions gave While a four month jail term suspended for 18 months and said: "It seems lenient but I am restrained by my sentencing powers."
He told While, who wiped away a tear as he avoided going to prison, it was the sixth time he had come to the attention of the authorities for offences involving violence, disorderly behaviour and damage.
The judge said Mr Carpenter had gone with While to the house "bent on violence," the front door was kicked in and there was a fight.
During the incident last February Mr Swinburne picked up the knife and in the course of the struggle Mr Carpenter sustained a stab wound to the chest and died.
Perhaps, the judge told While, the greatest punishment he could suffer was that he had played a part in his uncle's death.
While was further ordered to carry out 150 hours community punishment, to pay Mr Swinburne £350 compensation for the injuries he inflicted during the fight plus £350 costs.
Nicholas Burn, prosecuting, said Mr Carpeter's ex-girlfriend, Nicola Bennett, had been terrified when the two men forced entry into her home in Graham Road, Halesowen.
In a statement Miss Bennett told police Mr Swinburne had been petrified and he had picked up the knife to protect her and himself. She said she had been so scared she thought they were going to die.
Simon Williams, for While, said his client's life had changed completely since the incident and he was now seeking counselling.
Mr Williams said: "The outcome is tragic and he appreciates that and he will continue to suffer for what happened in the future. He and his uncle were very close."