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On-line business saves guilty 23-year-old from jail

A 23-year-old 'businessman' who spat in a woman's face and allegedly threatened her with a knife has since turned his life around and built a social media company with 75,000 followers, a court heard yesterday.

Jordan Shepherd, of Underhill Road, Matson, went on trial on Wednesday this week accused of affray, assault and being in possession of a knife on May 1 last year.

But he later changed his plea to guilty of affray and the prosecution accepted that, bringing the jury trial to an end.

Defending, Chloe Griggs said: "Since January this year he has been building a social media business which now has 75,000 followers and reaches eight million people a week.

"This is a young man who is extremely disappointed in his behaviour that day last year. He acted impulsively, in the heat of the moment and he made the wrong decision."

The court heard he cares for his grandmother, who has terminal cancer of the oesophagus, and he is the father of three young children.

"He has decided to prioritise his children now," said Ms Woods.

Judge Michael McCullum told Shepherd "you made a stupid decision."

He sentenced him to 10 months jail suspended for 12 months and ordered him to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and to complete a probation service requirement of 30 sessions.

Prosecutor, Alistair Haggerty, said the incident which led to the charges took place in Underhill Road at about 4.30pm on May 1, 2017.

"In the course of a dispute the defendant threatened neighbour Karen Brown with a knife, shouted abuse, and spat at her," he alleged.

The barrister said Mrs Brown was with friends outside her address.

"She became aware of a teenager, Joshua Kidd, on a motorbike," he said. Kidd drove towards her, he alleged.

Her husband, Marcus, emerged from the house and Mr Kidd 'fell off his bike,' the prosecutor said.

He told the court Mr Brown tried to 'detain' Mr Kidd but then 'became aware of the defendant' who was also on a bike.

Mr Haggerty said Shepherd drove away but then returned on foot across a field, with an eight-inch knife in his hand.

The barrister alleged that Shepherd was shouting 'I'm going to slice you up'.

Mr Brown let go of Mr Kidd and went into a neighbour's house.

"The defendant followed him," the prosecutor claimed, "and shouted 'get out here'".

"He then turned towards Mrs Brown and said 'If you don't get your husband out here, I'll slice you up'." Mr Haggerty alleged.

He told the jury that Shepherd 'held the knife very close to her face' before spitting in her face.

At this point, Mrs Brown called the police, and Shepherd left the scene, only to return later with 'his friends', Mr Haggerty claimed.

The barrister said Shepherd no longer had a knife but he spat in Mrs Brown's face once more.

It was only when the sound of police sirens reached the group that he went away, the prosecutor alleged.

When Shepherd was interviewed by police two weeks later, he told them Mr Brown had 'rugby tackled' his friend to the ground.

He denied that he had a knife, but accepted that he picked up a stick, although he didn't know why.

He admitted spitting, but said Mrs Brown spat at him first.

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