Son faces jail for attack on teenager who has terrorised estate

A YOUNG Weston man will be jailed this month for beating up the thug who has unleashed a reign of crime and terror on his family and neighbours for the past five years.

Matthew Bowen used an iron bar in the attack on Dean Mason, a serial offender who has burgled, stolen from and attacked those living on the Potteries since he was a small child.

The final straw came when 18-year-old Mr Mason was accused of setting his Staffordshire bull terrier, Tyson, on Bowen’s family cat and killing it – a claim denied by Mr Mason.

Last week, Bowen, aged 24, pleaded guilty to wounding with intent at Bristol Crown Court, following the attack on Mr Mason in the early hours of April 4 last year.

He was originally jointly charged with his brother, 19-year-old Josh Goodwin, who was cleared of any role in the incident by a jury on Friday.

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The court heard how Mr Mason has offended repeatedly since he was a young child, defiantly breaching court and police restrictions placed on him and making his neighbours’ lives a misery.

This week Josh and Matthew’s mum Lynette Goodwin told the Mercury how she has to have a camera over her front door and has been living in fear of Mr Mason for at least five years.

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She says her son finally snapped after seeing his family and their neighbours being put through years of torment at the hands of Mr Mason.

Lynette, aged 48, of Bridge Road, said: “This has been going on for years with Mason – it started as theft and turned into the torment of his neighbours.

“I haven’t been able to sleep – any time I hear a noise outside I think it’s him.

“Matt just couldn’t see his family suffer any more – or all the people around here.

“His sister Lily has to have counselling over the death of the cat and she sleeps at night with his collar in her hand.

“There were a number of things that happened with Mason that made Matt finally snap.”

During the trial, the court heard how there were 66 complaints from neighbours about Mason to the police between November 2006 and March 2010 for allegations including robbery, burglary, theft, assault, criminal damage and public disorder.

Some, but not all, he was prosecuted for.

He had also been given an antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) following convictions for burglary and taking without consent, but breached that five times.

When he was given the ASBO at the age of 15, evidence in court suggested he had been throwing dog mess at children, swearing and intimidating residents, stealing from neighbours’ gardens, threatening to kill a neighbour’s dog and smash another’s windows.

When Mr Mason accepted all the evidence, for the first time in North Somerset the police included with the ASBO a condition that he could not enter an enclosed premises of another residential property or garden between Hildesheim Close and Langford Road for two years.

At the time Knightstone Housing also submitted statements on behalf of estate residents and said it had received complaints of antisocial behaviour concerning Mr Mason, dating back as far as 1998, when he was aged just six.

Mr Mason, who spent time in a young offenders’ institute in 2008 for burglary, told the court that he was hit numerous times over the head by his attackers last April, leaving him with marks all over his body and needing plastic surgery on his lip.

The attack occurred at a time when Mr Mason was not allowed to be in the area because his parents’ landlord has put a condition on their tenancy that he does not go near their home in Hildesheim Close, between 9pm-6am.

Mr Mason also admitted that he had been mixing amphetamines and alcohol that night, but was certain Josh Goodwin was the other person who attacked him.

But Charles Row defending said Mr Mason, who said he was ‘doing what any kid would do’ when he carried out his offences, was lying about Josh’s part in the attack as revenge for what had gone on between the families and complaints to the police about him.

Mr Mason added: “I’m not saying I’m innocent but that’s the way it is – I admit I’ve made enemies.

“I’ve been in lots of fights, but I’m just unlucky.”

Bowen, also of Bridge Road, will be sentenced on June 24, but has been told he will face a jail sentence.

* HE Mercury applied to the courts to name Dean Mason in 2008 - after he was convicted of more than 20 crimes in 21 months.

Despite support from police and the fact that he had already breached his ASBO, we were told as he was aged under 18 his identity should remain anonymous.

That meant that the Mercury was unable to publish anything from criminal proceedings that could lead to the identification of the youngster, who had been making his neighbours’ lives hell.

Avon and Somerset Police’s antisocial behaviour co-ordinator Terry Crees said at the time that publicity should be the norm and identifying a youth who has breached their ASBO is necessary for the public to know justice has been done.

The Mercury should have been able to report the ASBO breach due to a loophole in the law, but not the criminal proceedings at the time.

But when we wrote to North Somerset magistrates to ask for the criminal reporting restrictions to be lifted because he was a repeat offender, the court wrote back to say it had imposed extra restrictions and anonymity had been imposed for the whole case, including the ASBO proceedings.

Despite magistrates’ guidelines encouraging youth courts to identify youngsters unless there is good reason to do otherwise, the magistrates said the restrictions were made because the family was ‘under pressure’ and the defendant was already well-known.

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