Homeless man behind bars on charge of battering tent-mate

Stewart Pantall

A homeless man was arrested Monday for allegedly battering a woman he shares a tent with.

An Ocala Police officer responded to the area of 4111 E. Silver Springs Blvd. after an off-duty officer reported observing a physical altercation between a man and woman. Stewart Pantall, 55, told the officer he and his girlfriend had gotten into an argument over their shared cell phone. Pantall said the victim accused him of trying to call his sister, whom the victim doesn’t like, according to the OPD report.

The officer could smell alcohol on Pantall’s breath and asked him if the couple had been drinking and he said yes. Pantall said nothing physical had happened and that everything was OK. He said he and the victim have been in a relationship for about four months and live together in a tent somewhere in the woods off E. Silver Springs Boulevard, the report said.

The victim, who had a large amount of blood visible on her left arm, said she didn’t want Pantall to go to jail but would like EMS to respond to clean her arm. She had two large scratches on her left arm that, when cleaned up, appeared to be from fingernails, according to the report.

The victim said she and Pantall had gotten into an argument over the cell phone and he didn’t mean to harm her. She then made a spontaneous statement about getting off the ground. When asked why she was on the ground, she said Pantall had pushed her and she fell, the report said.

Based on the injuries to the victim’s arm and her admitting Pantall threw her to the ground, Pantall was charged with domestic battery and taken to the Marion County Jail, where he remained as of Tuesday. Information about his bond and court date were not available.