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red card OAP ‘not sorry’ for choking and punching boy (9) who hit his car with football

Stewart said he 'just flipped' after leaving boy with red marks around his neck and body

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Stewart, who punched and choked the boy after losing his temper has been ordered to complete 180 hours community service.

Stewart, who punched and choked the boy after losing his temper has been ordered to complete 180 hours community service.

Stewart, who punched and choked the boy after losing his temper has been ordered to complete 180 hours community service.

A "mad" pensioner who attacked a nine-year-old boy for hitting his car with a football says he’s “not sorry” for his red card offence.

Malcolm Stewart choked the young boy and then punched him repeatedly in the stomach after losing his rag outside his house in Woodford Mews, Armagh.

The 67-year-old narrowly avoided going to jail and was ordered to complete 180 hours of community service after being convicted of common assault at Armagh Magistrates Court.

After we confronted him at his home, he said: “I’ve nothing to apologise for – the problem here was unsupervised children.”

The unrepentant OAP said: “This had been building up for about three years, there’s a green down the road so I don’t know why they had to keep playing football here, you can see the street is far too narrow.

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Malcolm Stewart dancing

Malcolm Stewart dancing

Malcolm Stewart dancing

“My car had been hit a few times and I’d spoken with the kid’s mum about things being chucked into my garden. I just flipped.

“I haven’t apologised – (I was told) I’ve got nothing to apologise for. Now I’m getting abuse in the street. Someone called me ‘d**khead’ the other day and I had to report it to the police.

“I try and avoid the neighbours now – I even cut the grass early in the morning so I wouldn’t see them.”

Stewart is known as ‘Mad Malcolm’ after a video of him dancing on stage went viral seven years ago.

He took to the stage at The Market Place Theatre in Armagh and performed a solo dance routine, much to the delight of the crowd.

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The videos went viral online

The videos went viral online

The videos went viral online

After the video of his lively dance went around the world online, he told the Belfast Telegraph how he became famous as ‘Mad Malcolm’ after turning up at gigs across the country in the ’70s and performing energetic routines to get the crowd going.

But he went ‘mad’ for all the wrong reasons when he set upon a young boy who’d been playing football outside his house last June.

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Armagh Magistrates Court heard how the OAP told police during interview the offence took place after he had told the children in the street to move after a football hit his car.

On June 13 at around 8pm, the court heard how a woman’s children were out in the street playing when her attention was drawn to noise from the street.

She looked out of her window to see Malcolm Stewart running towards her nine-year-old son with his arms outstretched. She then watched in horror as Stewart place his hands around her son’s neck and begin to shake him.

The mother called for him to stop – by this stage her son was on the ground but as the boy tried to get up he was pulled back down by Stewart, who then proceeded to punch the child several times in the stomach.

At this point, the child’s father came out to remonstrate at ‘Mad Malcolm’ who then left the scene.

Police arrived and they observed redness to the neck of the child and to the right side of his body.

Officers visited Stewart’s home and he was arrested, making immediate admissions to choking and striking the child.

The boy was taken to hospital. Doctors were concerned about his voice box but he was too frightened to allow a camera to be used.

The court was told how the child is going through specialised trauma and psychological treatment.

During interview, Stewart said that after a football had hit his car he had told the children to stay away but they continued playing and the ball came close to his car again and that’s when he went completely ‘mad’.

Defence solicitor Kevin McCamley stated that there was a “backdrop” to this offence occurring.

District Judge Bernie Kelly interjected: “I am fed up to the back teeth of people making excuses. You do not assault a child under any set of circumstances. If anything, Mr Stewart proves what I’ve always said ‘the only reason any adult assaults a child is because the adult has lost their temper’.”

Mr McCamley accepted there was “no excuse” and added: “Mr Stewart is what can only be described hitherto this incident an upstanding member of the community. He worked for the library board, your worship, for a very long time, retiring in 2015.

“Someone of previous good character, he has been married for 25 years, been in the same house for 39 years since 1983, with no trouble up until three years ago. It is Mr Stewart who will never live the shame of this down.”

He added: “Mr Stewart doesn’t shy away from this, making admissions at the first opportunity when police called to the door. He realised what he did was wrong. He knows that this is a case where the custody threshold has been crossed.”

District Judge Kelly said: “This is a very serious offence. Any offence that involves an adult assaulting a child is a very serious offence.”

However, the district judge took into account Stewart’s previous good character, his admissions at the scene and his lack of record.

The defendant was ordered to complete 180 hours of community service.

Stewart said this week how he just wanted to live in peace and had tried to get on with his neighbours.

“I was always bringing in toys off the street before they were run over by a car and there was rubbish left in the alleyway beside the house.

“Me and my wife are born-again Christians and I am well known in the music scene for dancing.

“I’ve lived here for 39 years and I don’t want to move but it’s become awkward. I’m getting a lot of abuse.”

The convicted pensioner became an instant internet hit back in 2015 when he was filmed dancing on stage in Armagh.

He told the Belfast Telegraph afterwards: “I’ve been doing this since the early 70s.

“I used to go to discos occasionally and got turned down by girls so I eventually came to the conclusion why not dance by myself?

“I just enjoy the music. It fills me with a sense of freedom.

“It’s a type of expression – people play music, paint, write poetry, it’s similar to that.”

steven.moore@sundayworld.com

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