Cyclist, 55, launched 'frenzied attack' on neighbour, 61, after row over scuffing walls of communal landing with bike | The Sun
8th September 2022

A CYCLIST has been sentenced after launching a "frenzied attack" on a 61-year-old neighbour during a row over scuffed walls.

Nicholas Rowntree, 55, unleashed a series of punches on Barry Schulz after being confronted for scratching the paintwork on the communal landing of their block of flats with his mountain bike.

Schulz, an Army veteran and surgical podiatrist, who managed the block of flats, took Rowntree to task over damaging the walls of the Grade II-listed building in Poole, Dorset.

The pair had clashed before over the issue, with the latest argument bringing the conflict to a head after the building's residents had all chipped in to have the paintwork repaired.

The violent cyclist is said to have repeatedly marked the walls through "bad handling" of his mountain bike.

Rowntree, who has a previous conviction for using his bike to assault a council official, apparently lost his temper with Schulz during the latest confrontation and punched him at least six times in the head and face.

This left the former Army staff sergeant bloodied and battered in the stairwell.

Recalling the assault, Schulz said: "I said something like 'why do you keep damaging the landing? We all have to pay for this'."

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"Then he beat me up. It was a frenzied attack to my head and face. It was very sudden and completely unexpected.

"The first punch completely got the better of me, it was remarkable how quickly it all happened. I remember I just flew backwards."

He added that he had tried to put his hands up to defend himself, without success.

He had served with the Royal Tank Regiment for 22 years before retiring in 2002 to become a podiatrist.

Schulz and his wife, Michelle, then moved to the seaside in 2018 as he took on the role of director of the building's management company.

A court heard that there had been "bad blood" between the pair for some time before the attack in April 2020.

However, Rowntree denied starting the fight and said that Schulz had banged on his door shouting "fight me you coward."

He also claimed that the building manager had kicked him down the stairs and that he pushed the veteran's fists into his own face in self defence, causing his facial injuries.

Magistrates in Poole rejected this and convicted him of assault, which was upheld on appeal by Bournemouth Crown Court.

Sentencing Rowntree, Judge Pawson said: "Giving Mr Rowntree the benefit of the doubt, he may have felt he needed to use some form of force to defend himself however we are sure that he did punch Mr Schulz and the force was wholly disproportionate to the threat.

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"We are sure the injuries caused were not the result of pushing Mr Schulz away."

Rowntree was sentenced to a community order with 150 hours of unpaid work and forced to pay £330 prosecution costs and a victim surcharge.

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