Man broke neighbour's nose after row over girlfriend making too much noise

Steven Carter leaves Cardiff Crown Court
Steven Carter leaves court -Credit:Conor Gogarty

A man broke a neighbour's nose in a fight that started over night-time noise. Steven Carter, 36, caused grievous bodily harm to Gabriel Gazo and assaulted Mr Gazo's girlfriend Rebecca Galbraith in the foyer of a Cardiff block of flats.

Prosecutor Jason Howells told Cardiff Crown Court that Mr Gazo and Ms Galbraith had lived in the block of six flats for two years. Living in the same block was Mr Carter's own girlfriend, who had angered Mr Gazo in the early hours of June 17 last year by talking loudly with a friend outside his front door and disturbing his sleep, the court heard.

"After about an hour Mr Gazo spoke to them, to which he received abuse and a threat from one of the females, whom he recognised as Mr Carter's partner," said Mr Howells. "There was also a racial term used, calling him a P***. They carried on talking for several hours, but he did not interact with them further and he tried to get to sleep."

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On the evening of June 27 Mr Gazo started filming from his window and got into an argument with Carter and his girlfriend, who were standing outside. Mr Gazo claimed that he told Carter about the racial word that Carter's girlfriend had allegedly used against him, and Carter allegedly replied: "You are a f***ing P*** mate."

Mr Gazo came downstairs and Carter went into the foyer, where there was what the prosecutor called a "fracas" involving Carter, Mr Gazo and Ms Galbraith. The court heard Mr Gazo ended up going to hospital with a broken nose, a "nasty gash" to his nose and soreness to the lower part of his eye socket. Ms Galbraith sustained minor injuries to her elbow and arm.

After being arrested Carter claimed he had been moving items to and from his partner's flat when one of the victims allegedly spat on his partner from their window. He claimed that in the foyer Ms Galbraith had been the aggressor by jumping on his back and hitting him on the head. He accepted he punched Mr Gazo to the nose but maintained he was defending himself and that he only threw "one or two" punches. He denied making any racist comments.

Steven Carter leaves court
Steven Carter outside court -Credit:Conor Gogarty

Carter, of Meteor Street in Adamsdown, later pleaded guilty to Section 20 grievous bodily harm on Mr Gazo and common assault on Ms Galbraith. He admitted his self-defence had been excessive. Carter had 43 previous offences on his record including actual bodily harm, battery, shoplifting, a racially aggravated offence and drug offences. His barrister Laurence Jones pointed out that Carter had not troubled the courts since 2019 and that his last violent crime stretched back to 2012.

"It is a great disappointment that he has found himself back before the court when it looked like he had put offences of violence behind him," said Mr Jones. But he added that footage showed Mr Gazo was "more than content to go and confront Mr Carter in what was clearly going to be a physical confrontation" and that it had been Mr Gazo who invited the defendant into the foyer. The barrister also said his client had experienced a "difficult childhood" but has "always tried to be employed when he can" and has overcome drug addiction as well as re-establishing contact with his 14-year-old daughter.

Judge Vanessa Francis told Carter: "Thankfully neither victim's injuries were life-changing or life-affecting, but nevertheless you caused a nasty gash to Mr Gazo's nose and broke it... Although you initially argued you acted wholly in self-defence you came to the realisation that what you did was far in excess of self-defence." She noted that Carter had a history of ignoring court orders but that the last time he did so was "quite some time ago". She decided society would benefit more from his working with the probation service on his issues than being sentenced to immediate custody.

The judge imposed a 21-week jail term suspended for 12 months, 55 hours of unpaid work and 19 sessions on thinking skills. Carter must pay £250 towards prosecution costs. Before he left court, the judge told him: "If you choose to go back to that address you are extremely vulnerable to what happens in the future. If it is clear you will be in difficulty in that address, you will need to make the adult, mature decision not to be there." Carter nodded then left the dock.