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Neighbour cleared of meat cleaver attack' over noise

PUBLISHED: 15:33 20 August 2008 | UPDATED: 10:03 12 August 2010

A MAN accused of slicing a neighbour s arm open in a row about noise has walked free from the Old Bailey.  Christopher Obiago claimed he had repeatedly complained about the disturbances from the upstairs flat of 30-year-old Steven Sutton in Tovil Close, P

A MAN accused of slicing a neighbour's arm open in a row about noise has walked free from the Old Bailey.

Christopher Obiago claimed he had repeatedly complained about the disturbances from the upstairs flat of 30-year-old Steven Sutton in Tovil Close, Penge.

Mr Obiago said he had knocked on Sutton's door after hearing 'swearing and threats' from Mr Sutton in the early hours of March 8, last year.

He claimed Mr Sutton had a meat cleaver in one hand and a knife in the other during the confrontation.

Rachel Barnes, prosecuting, told jurors the defendant brought the cleaver down on Mr Obiago's arm, leaving him with a 'bone-deep' wound.

Mr Obiago was taken to University Hospital, Lewisham where he later required three operations.

When officers called at Mr Sutton's second floor flat, he claimed Mr Obiago had threatened him with a knife.

Miss Barnes said: "When it was put to him that Mr Obiago was saying that the defendant had attacked him, the defendant said "that's rubbish, he came in holding a knife.

"When he was told he had a wound to his forearm, the defendant replied that he must have done it to himself and then went on to say he must have been cut during a struggle."

In a police interview, Mr Sutton said there had been a number of clashes with his neighbour in the weeks leading up to the alleged attack.

He also claimed Mr Obiago had come to his flat 'smashing his door down' about the noise.

During the trial, Mr Sutton insisted he acted in self defence and the jury cleared him of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and an alternative of unlawful wounding.

Following his acquittal it emerged that Mr Sutton had bypassed his electricity meter with a piece of wire to avoid payment between September 5, 2006 and May 3, last year. He admitted abstracting electricity worth £871.16 and a further charge of breaching bail by failing to attend an earlier court appearance.

After the hearing, Mr Sutton had spent 193 days in custody awaiting trial. The Common Serjeant of London, Judge Brian Barker, said he could pass a term which enabled his immediate release.

Mr Sutton was sentenced to six months for breaching bail with 28 days consecutive for abstracting electricity.

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