Shopping trip turns sour for Steele's victim

AN Orange man will have to be of good behaviour for the next year after punching his female neighbour in the back of the head.

Andrew John Steele, 46, of Cassey Crescent, pleaded guilty in Orange Local Court on Monday to common assault following an incident on December 23. 

Police said the pair lived across the road from one another, were friends, often borrowed cigarettes from one another and conducted grocery trips together. 

On this occasion, the victim and her partner needed to visit the partner’s parents to mow their lawn and Steele agreed to come along for the ride.

But police said after a number of hours, Steele became aggravated and wanted to go home before all three left for Woolworths.

After the shopping was complete and the three were back in the car, Steele began verbally abusing the victim, telling her “don’t ever ask me for f****n’ smokes again”.

The victim stopped the car on Summer Street and opened the door and Steele got out before punching the woman.

Police said he also tried to punch her partner, but missed, before being left behind to catch a taxi.

When police arrived at his house later in the day, Steele told them he pushed her in the chest, but did not punch her.

In court, solicitor Gerry Stapleton said his client suffered from mental health problems, which he was seeking treatment for.

He told the court there had been no problems between the pair in the five months since the incident. 

Magistrate David Day labelled the offence as “bizarre” and handed down the bond.

“If he keeps doing it, I’ll have to accommodate him in another way, he’ll be in green,” he said.