NEWBURYPORT – A judge dismissed assault and battery charges against two men accused of attacking another man who threw a woman down a flight of stairs after the alleged victim failed to show up for their trials. 

Charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon against Matthew R. Gaudreau, 43, of Salisbury and John F. Richardson, 48, of Avon were also dropped Monday in Newburyport District Court.

In addition to 33-year-old Jeffrey Holt not showing up to testify, witnesses of the alleged revenge beating failed to appear. 

As a result, Essex County prosecutor Shailagh Kennedy told Judge Peter Doyle she was not ready for trial. That prompted attorneys for Gaudreau and Richardson to ask Doyle to dismiss the charges. Doyle agreed but left open the possibility of a future trial. 

In November, Holt pleaded guilty to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and served two days in jail. He is on probation for two years with a two-year jail sentence hanging over him if he violates probation.

Police believe that while a third man held down Holt, Gaudreau and Richardson kicked and punched him in retaliation for allegedly pushing a 50-year-old woman down stairs off Railroad Avenue on Sept. 28. 

Officer Craig Goodrich responded about 8:50 that evening and saw a small crowd yelling and pointing to a flight of stairs between two apartment buildings, according to a Salisbury police report. 

The woman was crying and yelling at Holt, asking why he attacked her. Goodrich walked over to Holt and escorted him away from the crowd. Holt told Goodrich he was jumped by four or five people while they were on the stairs. He later declined medical treatment when an ambulance crew arrived.

Goodrich then spoke to a witness, who told the officer the woman was walking up the stairs when Holt grabbed the victim and threw her down the stairs. The victim’s boyfriend saw the attack and he, along with others, jumped Holt, Goodrich wrote in his report.

A day after the attack, Holt went to the police station and demanded that Gaudreau and Richardson, along with the man who held him down, be charged. 

Gaudreau and Richardson were arraigned in October and released on cash bail. The third man was not charged.

Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.

Recommended for you