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Dappy avoids jail over club attack


Dappy has been given a suspended sentence

Dappy has been given a suspended sentence

Dappy has been given a suspended sentence

Former N-Dubz singer Dappy has avoided jail for carrying out a nightclub attack while serving a suspended sentence for a petrol station brawl.

The 27-year-old, who was tried under his real name of Costadinos Contostavlos, was found guilty in September of punching a man on the dancefloor of the Evissa nightclub in Reading, Berkshire.

This attack took place while he was serving a six-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months for affray and assault at a petrol station in Guildford, Surrey, in February 2012.

But Judge Neil Stewart decided not to activate the suspended sentence at Guildford Crown Court today.

Contostavlos held his hands together in prayer and was shaking in the dock ahead of the sentence.

The star gasped in relief when Judge Stewart told him: "Justice does not require me to order that you go through that door at the back of the court.

"There will be a non-custodial sentence."

As he left the court building, Contostavlos told reporters: "I feel amazing. It's a brand new me."

He was handed a two-month jail term suspended for one year. In his sentencing remarks, Judge Stewart told him "you have plainly a temper".

He acknowledged the pressure of being a well-known person, but added: "That doesn't justify the sort of reactions that have been characterised by these offences."

Reading Magistrates' Court heard that the nightclub fight broke out in the early hours of October 6 last year because Contostavlos, from Hatfield in Hertfordshire, began chatting to a man's girlfriend and female friend, and the singer punched the man after he told him not to talk to the women.

Meanwhile the petrol station brawl trial at Guildford Crown Court heard he sparked a ''mob-handed attack'' when he spat at two teenagers, leading to a fight in which three men were seriously injured.

Contostavlos was today given a 12-month supervision order and a four-month curfew to be at home between 10pm until 5am.

He was told to attend the Thinking Skills Programme, which is a self-control and problem-solving group for offenders.

The singer was also ordered to pay £1,200 prosecution costs, an £800 fine, £800 in compensation to his nightclub victim and a statutory surcharge of £80.

The judge said a report written by Contostavlos's psychotherapist had an impact on his decision.

The court heard that the therapist concluded that the death of the singer's father had had a "profound effect" on him, while he also lacked the "tools and techniques to deal with difficult feelings".

Contostavlos's barrister, Jon Harrison, said in mitigation: "He accepts that he doesn't help matters when faced with confrontation.

"He is somebody who - it seems the pre-sentence report suggests - needs to have a recalibration of how he deals with hostility or potential conflict."

He added that, given the possibility of a custodial term, Contostavlos was "effectively staring down the precipice of financial ruin" as he owes "a large amount of money" to the taxman.

He was sentenced to a community order in November 2005 for possessing a bladed weapon in a public place, while in September 2007 he was given 40 hours of community service for battery when he pushed a taxi driver following an argument.

In December 2008 he was given a four-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay compensation for two battery offences which related to him spitting at two women.

He was fined £800 in June this year for lashing out and slapping a man at a nightclub in Chelmsford, Essex.