Pensioner looses appeal over assaulting woman by soaking her with watering can

Rebecca Speare-Cole
FILE PHOTO  Peter Churcher at his home in Bere Alston, Devon. See SWNS story SWPLsoak; A pensioner has lost his appeal against an assault conviction for soaking a woman with a watering can from his bathroom window. Green-fingered Peter Churcher, 66, claimed he was tendering to his hanging baskets in preparation for an in-bloom contest when
Peter Churcher, 66, claimed he was tendering to his hanging baskets in preparation for an in-bloom contest when "all hell broke lose" as water drenched his victim on the streets below. (SWNS)

A pensioner has lost his appeal against an assault conviction for pouring water on a woman with a watering can from his bathroom window.

Peter Churcher, 65, claimed he was watering his hanging baskets from his bathroom window at his home in the village of Bere Alston, Devon in July 2019 as he prepared for a “Britain in Bloom” flower competition.

But, Rosalina Foster, who was standing on the street below, got soaked with water.

The bookshop owner was convicted of assault by beating last year and was ordered to pay £1,000 worth of fines and court costs.

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Churcher was found to have purposely soaked Foster from above because she was blocking his front door by standing in the street.

He recently appealed the verdict at Plymouth Crown Court.

However, a judge and two magistrates who were fresh to the case threw out the appeal, describing his claims as coming from “fantasy land”.

Peter Churcher, 66, claimed he was tendering to his hanging baskets in preparation for an in-bloom contest when
Peter Churcher, 66, claimed he was tendering to his hanging baskets in preparation for an in-bloom contest when "all hell broke lose" as water drenched his victim on the streets below. (SWNS)

Foster told the court she was drenched by cold water while standing in the street chatting to a friend who had been admiring Churcher’s orange and red begonias.

It came as the village prepared for the judging to begin for the annual flower competition.

Foster said she was left "shocked and angry" by the attack.

Her friend Rosemary Niblock told the court: "All of a sudden this water came pouring out of an upstairs window and absolutely drowned her.

“I got wet on my right hand side. I was under the porch. It just came all at once. Her hair was wet and her T-shirt was wet, right down to the waist.”

Niblock said Churcher then shouted obscenities towards them and he later took pictures of them.

The window where Peter Churcher was watering his flowers.
The window where Peter Churcher was watering his flowers. (SWNS)

Recorder Jo Martin said that the bench was satisfied that Churcher had been upset by the women standing in the street and deliberately threw water at them to try and shoo them away.

The 65-year-old still maintains his innocence and said the case should never have ended up in court.

He said: “I was just watering my own plants in the same way I have done for the last 20 years. I have done it thousands of times with no problems. But this time all hell broke loose.

"I could not believe it. I can not find any other example of people getting into trouble like this just over a hanging basket.

"Why would I go upstairs to drench a lady I don't know with water? It makes no sense. They just say I soaked them and then was rude. It's just not true."

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Churcher, who runs a bookshop in the heart of the village, said the incident on July 12, 2019 has left a stain on his reputation.

He added that he struggles with the thought of now having a criminal record. “They claimed it was assault by beating and I have now got a conviction,” he said. “God knows why. I have never been in trouble with the court and it is absolute lunacy. It is ridiculous.

"I have now got a criminal record because I used a watering can to look after my hanging baskets. In reality that is as ridiculous as it sounds.

"I have looked it up and there is no mention of anyone else being charged for an offence like this. There was a case with a hose but nothing like mine.

"Assault by beating with a watering can is a different ball game. They say I threw the water at her - but all I was doing was watering the plants and aiming it at the pot.

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"After it happened I heard a bit of noise from outside. No-one said stop watering, but I came down and saw the two women outside.

"They were not even really wet. They said I had thrown water on one of them and soaked them through to the bone. But how it ended up from that to me being in court I do not understand.

"The water doesn't even come that fast out of the spout. The court convicted me on that basis. But how can I drench the lady with water from such a small spout? It is unfeasible."

The bench left in place the original penalty of a £153 fine, £775 costs, £200 compensation and a £32 victim surcharge.

Churcher was also ordered to pay an extra £520 for the costs of the appeal hearing.

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