Neil Junior Cleal, aged 25, of Victoria Road, Southampton, pleaded guilty to ABH, criminal damage and assaulting an emergency worker at Southampton Magistrates’ Court on 26 March.
The court heard that at around 9pm on 21 July 2020, Cleal approached a woman in her 50’s in Ludlow Road whilst shouting abuse at her, specifically about her gender identity.
Cleal then proceeded to kick down her front gate and walk up to the woman, aged in her 50’s, and spit in her face before punching her several times to the head causing her to fall backwards, leaving her in significant pain.
The second incident happened on Wednesday, 24 March 2021 when Cleal approached three PCSO’s on patrol in St Mary’s Street and started shouting abuse at them. Cleal then walked up to one of the PCSOs and pushed him in the arm whilst making threats towards him.
On Friday, 16 April, Cleal appeared at Southampton Crown Court and was jailed for 16 months for the assault on the woman in her 50’s and 14 weeks for the assault on an emergency worker making it a total of 19 months and two weeks in prison.
The assault on the woman in Ludlow Road was abhorrent and totally unprovoked. Targeting someone because of their gender identity or sexual orientation, or a misguided perception is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
We commend the woman’s bravery and courage in coming forward and reporting what happened to her.
We would also like to thank the members of public who responded to our witness appeal with information that led to the identification of Cleal, the man responsible.
Anyone who suffers hate crime, or receives a serious threat against them is urged to report it to the police, either by calling 101 (999 in an emergency) or online through the True Vision website at http://orlo.uk/v0y9J
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