Man punched neighbour five times in row over parking space

A man who punched a woman five times in an argument about a parking space was let off with a conditional discharge after a judge accepted the victim had started the fight.

Foyzul Hoque, 36, hit Abiola Sobodu repeatedly and stamped on her foot in front of his child after she asked his wife to move her car as she was taking up two parking spaces.

He was given a 12-month conditional discharge for the ‘appalling’ attack at Thames Magistrates’ Court today after District Deputy Judge Ross Cohen decided his neighbour was the aggressor.

The incident began when Hoque’s wife insisted she would not move her vehicle outside their homes in Bow, east London at 7.30pm on October 2.

Ms Sobodu parked elsewhere, but was ‘challenged’ by Hoque about the way in which she had spoken to his wife as she headed towards her flat, Callum Morgan, prosecuting, said.

The three began ‘swearing’ at each other, before Hoque and his wife walked away – but Ms Sobodu was left unimpressed as Hoque’s wife filmed her.

Mr Morgan said: ‘The wife is inside behind a perspex screen. The defendant’s wife and victim exchanged insults with the defendant’s wife punching the perspex screen. 

‘The defendant then punched the victim about five times. He finally stamps on the victim’s foot and tries to kick her in the leg.

‘There’s quite a nasty swelling in the leg. She says she has dreams about the incident and feels scared at home and while at work.’

Hoque claimed he ‘had to punch’ Ms Sobodu as she had ‘attacked him first’, leaving him ‘fearing or the safety of his wife or child’ in a statement put forward to the court.

Onlookers who intervened in the fight supported the theory that the victim was ‘rather more aggressive than one would normally expect’.

Witness Daniel Quantrel said in a statement Ms Sobodu ‘got really aggressive and started shouting b and c to the other female’.

Hoque was let off with a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £106 after admitting one count of assault by beating.

However, District Deputy Judge Cohen warned him the offence would ‘come back to bite you’ if another was committed.

He told him: ‘In the circumstances, I accept she was the aggressor although I do not accept the excessive use of self-defence.

‘You lost your temper – this is appalling frankly, that you punched a woman in the face.

‘Ordinarily, I would impose a community order. However, I have read the report that indicates that a community order would not be appropriate in this case. I am not minded to escalate the sentence.’

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