POLITICS

MP Mike Hancock's Son Dean Hancock Convicted Of Assaulting Press Photographer

13/06/2014 21:31 BST | Updated 13/06/2014 22:59 BST

The son of MP Mike Hancock has been found guilty of headbutting and punch a press photographer.

Dean Hancock was convicted at Portsmouth Magistrates' Court of the charge of assault causing actual bodily harm against Steve Reigate of the Daily Express.

The 37-year-old pipe-fitter was also found guilty of causing criminal damage to a camera lens and flashgun belonging to Mr Reigate worth more than £2,300.

District Judge Anne Arnold said: "I find that the defendant throughout the events, as demonstrated by the footage I have seen, was the aggressor and assaulted Mr Reigate first by headbutting him and caused the injuries which I have seen the photos and heard evidence about and I am satisfied amount in law to actual bodily harm."

mike hancock

Dean Hancock's father is MP Mike Hancock (pictured)

Hancock will be sentenced on June 25. The judge said she would likely impose a community punishment, not prison.

The fracas happened outside the family home in Rockingham Way, Portchester, Fareham, on January 23 after journalists and photographers had been waiting outside hoping to talk to the defendant's father.

The MP for Portsmouth South was making headlines at the time as he is being sued in the High Court by a "vulnerable" female constituent who alleges that he sexually assaulted her.

The 68-year-old, who denies the allegations, had just been suspended from the Liberal Democrats until the outcome of the civil case.

Vivian Ducie, prosecuting, said: "During the build-up to the alleged assault it became apparent from comments made by Dean Hancock that he was not very impressed by the press being there at all."

He said Hancock's mother, Jacqui, started to leave the property in her car and was accompanied by her son who shielded her using an umbrella.

Mr Ducie said: "He makes certain comments to the press that are there and effectively prods the umbrella in the direction of several of them.

"The car reverses out, in the confusion the car makes contact with Dean Hancock who is knocked over.

"Steve Reigate is in front of the car and is intending to photograph Mrs Hancock, it's at that point that Dean Hancock simply loses all control of himself and attacks Steve Reigate.

"You can see the ferocity which Mr Hancock is attacking Steve Reigate because both his feet are off the ground.

"The prosecution contention is he must have been using some tremendous force."

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Mr Reigate suffered an injury to his nose and a split lip.

Footage of the incident filmed by freelance cameraman Paul Wellings for ITN was shown to the court.

Hancock admitted swearing at the journalists but claimed that he only hit Mr Reigate out of self defence after he said the photographer struck him in the stomach.

He denied that he had headbutted Mr Reigate but said that they had "exchanged blows" with himself suffering facial injuries in the incident.

He also suggested that Mr Reigate had touched up photos of his injuries using Photoshop or make-up to make them look worse and had also thrown his camera deliberately to the ground which Mr Ducie said were "outrageous" allegations.