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N-Dubz Dappy Given Suspended Prison Sentence
N-Dubz rapper Dappy has been given a six-month suspended sentence for a brawl he sparked at a petrol station.
The singer broke down in tears and shouted "yes" at Guildford Crown Court as the sentence was delivered, after he was found guilty of assault and affray at an earlier hearing.
He was also ordered to pay £4,500 in compensation and £2,000 in costs.
The 25-year-old had faced a maximum sentence of three years in prison.
The trial was told that Dappy, charged under his real name of Costadinos Contostavlos, was out celebrating the release of his new single on February 27 last year.
After spending the night in the VIP area of the Casino nightclub in Guildford drinking sambuca shots and Jack Daniels, the group headed back in three cars to the recording studios in Godalming, where Dappy was recording his debut solo album.
The group stopped at the Shell garage in Woodbridge Road, Guildford, at about 3.30am on February 28 where the violence erupted.
Brian Stork, prosecuting, said Dappy approached two 19-year-olds, Grace Cochran and Serena Burton, sitting on the pavement outside the station shop and tried to persuade them to get into the car with him.
When they refused these advances and began to ridicule him by calling him "boring", Dappy became angry and called them "sluts".
He told the court: "They had shown me disrespect, a lot."
Dappy denied swearing and spitting at them and was found not guilty of two charges of common assault in relation to the spitting.
Mr Stork said a man called David Jenkins, who had been talking to the two women, stepped in to protect them but was spat at by Dappy.
This spitting, which hit Mr Jenkins, made up the charge of assault by beating which Dappy was convicted of.
Mr Jenkins put Dappy in a headlock, leading to several other people joining in the fight, including co-defendants Kieran Vassell and Alfred Miller.
Mr Jenkins suffered several broken teeth in the fight while another man, Oliver Billson, suffered a swollen eye and Christopher Gibson's nose was broken.
Dappy denied attempting to pick up the two women and told the court that he only spoke to them to promote his single.
He denied spitting at them and at Mr Jenkins and said his following actions were simply as self-defence to get out of the headlock.
Vassell denied affray and said he acted only to protect Dappy.
The defence said that Miss Cochran and Miss Burton were "unreliable witnesses" as they had sent Twitter and BlackBerry messages saying they intended to sell their stories to the national newspapers.
The court was told that Dappy had previous convictions for assault and possessing a bladed weapon.
In November 2005, he was sentenced to a community order for possessing a bladed weapon in a public place.
In September 2007, he was given 40 hours of community service for battery when he pushed a taxi driver following an argument in Camden, north London.
And 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.
Paul Greaney, defending Dappy, said a prison term would bring an end to his career as a singer.
He said: "It is inevitable now that he will not be able to visit or work in America.
"Furthermore, as a result of the convictions, certain important radio stations will not play his records.
"His earning capacity now is extremely limited and those responsible for his management believe a period of custody will bring his career to an end."
He added: "People depend on Mr Contostavlos, I mention not only his family, his mother and brother and his partner and children but a number of people who work for him.
"He is terrified, in particular, not of what will happen to him but that he will not be able to provide financially for his family and others. That is a genuine concern he has expressed to me."
He continued: "These proceedings have had a quite massive impact on Mr Contostavlos and the court would be entitled to conclude that he has learnt a very important lesson indeed and he has shown real insight into the impact on his victims of his behaviour that night."
Mr Greaney added that Dappy had shown this by intervening on Twitter when the two female witnesses received "extremely unpleasant" messages from some of the rapper's supporters.
He said: "This defendant, on that conduct being apparent to him, went on his own Twitter account to post a message to make it clear that he deplored this behaviour and that no fan or associate of his should indulge in that conduct and that did have a real effect and did help bring it to an end."