Man who filmed Chesterfield spice users told his dog would be “killed”, court hears

A dog walker who uploaded Facebook videos of town centre drinkers and spice users was told he would be “followed” home and his German Shepherd would be “killed”, a court heard.

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 2:20 pm

Magistrates heard “aggravation” between Chesterfield’s town centre substance abusers and the dog walker - said to be filming them - boiled over into threats and an assault in March.

Prosecutor Paul Bettany told Chesterfield Magistrates Court how on March 31 the scared dog lover was approached by Stefan Knighton in the centre of the town.

As Knighton, 46, came over he said “is that a German Shepherd?”, adding “I kill them” and “I’m going to follow you home and do it”.

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The dog walker uploaded pictures and videos to Facebook
The dog walker uploaded pictures and videos to Facebook

Mr Bettany described how Knighton - who followed his victim and the dog through the town centre - then “swung a punch” when his victim turned and told him to f*** off.

Though Knighton’s strike did connect with his victim’s face - it was the defendant’s forearm rather than his fist - and the shaken complainant was not injured.

As his victim attempted to pick up his phone - dropped and damaged during the scuffle - to call police, Knighton “disappeared”.

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Stefan Knighton, 46, threatened to "kill" his victim's German Shepherd

Magistrates heard Knighton had a previous conviction for battery in July last year and was serving a suspended jail term at the time of the most recent town centre run-in.

His solicitor Ben Strelley said alcohol and drug abuse were “significant factors'' for Knighton - diagnosed with autism and an unstable personality disorder.

However after a spell of homelessness he was now in accommodation and making good progress.

Mr Strelley said: “Mr Knighton says the male takes videos of drinkers and spice users and places them on Facebook.

“There was some level of aggravation between the two parties - a comment made by the complainant was ‘I bet your mother’s proud’.”

The solicitor added this had angered Knighton more - as his mother had died some years ago.

Knighton, of Southgate Way, Barrow Hill, admitted assault by beating.

Magistrates stepped back from activating his suspended sentence and handed him a 12-month community order with 15 rehabilitation activity days and a 12-week curfew.

He was also ordered to pay £50 compensation for his victim’s damaged phone.

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