Preston ex psychiatric nurse hit woman over the head with a mallet over frustration at anti social behaviour in flat

A disgruntled resident swung a wooden mallet at his neighbour's girlfriend's head after making a string of complaints to police about noise from their flat.

By Stef Hall
Tuesday, 23rd February 2021, 3:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd February 2021, 3:50 pm

Mark Schwalbe, 60, of Victoria Road, Fulwood, Preston, launched the attack as she made her way down a stairwell at the block of flats, leaving her covered in blood from a 3cm head wound that needed gluing.

He had tried to argue his actions were self defence and that drug activity had been taking place at their property, but he now admits wounding her and possessing an offensive weapon.

Schwalbe previously hit the headlines after claiming he had been turned down for 200 job posts because he was 'too qualified', and since moving to Preston from Yorkshire he has also spoken in the media about needing to use a food bank.

Mark Schwalbe

Speaking by video link from HMP Preston, where he has been on remand for nine months, he said: "You have to understand Your Honour, I feel sorry for hurting someone by my actions but honestly there was no malice in my heart.

"I've been a psychiatric nurse, a local government officer, and a product of quite a few universities.

"People have always been my passion and it grieves me so much as a Christian that someone got hurt by my indirect actions."

Judge Philip Parry replied his actions were not indirect as he had deliberately left his flat with a wooden mallet and hit his victim.

He told Schwalbe he had acted "impetuously and with serious consequences".

Prosecuting, Denise Fitzpatrick said: " CCTV shows at 10.20pm he went to the front door of the flat and punched and kicked the front door.

"At that time he had a carrier bag in which there was a wooden mallet."

At 11.10pm the neighbour's girlfriend left the flat to meet her sister in law on the road outside.

Schwalbe was on the landing in the middle of the stairway and called her an abusive name before taking hold of her.

He pushed her over and as she got to her feet to run away she felt a blow to her head, which made her stagger and feel dizzy.

The court heard she managed to stay on her feet but was covered in blood.

Police found the mallet in Schwalbe's kitchen.

Defending, Andrea Lock described Schwalbe's prosecution as a "spectacular fall from grace", telling the court he was an accomplished and intelligent man with a number of academic qualifications.

She said criminal activity at the flat in question had contributed to a deterioration in his mental health, and on this occasion "things boiled over".

The court heard the defendant, who has no previous convictions, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer since being detained in custody.

He was given 13 months in jail, which means he will be released as he has already served more than half of it on remand.

Judge Parry said: "You took it upon yourself to ensure they no longer affected you with their anti social behaviour.

"You had plainly had too much to drink that evening, no doubt to build up the courage to knock on his door.

"CCTV shows even at that stage you were carrying a plastic bag with you which we all now know contained that wooden mallet. You really should have left things there and as frustrating as I'm sure it had been for you, you should have left it to the housing association or police to deal with your concerns."

"You had been pushed, you believe, to the very edges of your capability and your limits and you lashed out."

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