Desperate drug addict jailed after attacking shop worker

A desperate drug addict who punched a shop worker as they tried to stop him shoplifting has been locked up.

Friday, 9th April 2021, 7:00 am

Jonathan Kenneth Nicholson had already stolen items from the B&M shop in Normanton earlier in the day and came back for a second haul, Leeds Crown Court was told.

Prosecuting, Anna Bond, said that he was spotted stealing £96 worth of air fresheners at around 6pm on December 4 last year, but escaped the Market Street shop.

Around two hours later the 32-year-old returned and was asked to leave when staff recognised him, but he refused and "squared up to them", before grabbing two bottles of whisky and chocolates.

B&M in Normanton.

The staff were able to take them off him and get him out of the front door before locking it, but he ran round to a side door and got in again, grabbing another bottle of whisky.

A staff member then took hold of him and Nicholson lashed out, punching him in the head. The police were called and he was arrested.

Nicholson, of Windermere Drive, Knottingley, has 16 convictions for 33 offences, including multiple thefts, battery in 2015 and GBH in 2018.

He had been working in a bar in Wakefield when he glassed a customer. He received 16 months' jail, suspended for two years.

During his latest appearance, he admitted a charge of assault, two counts of theft of items worth a total of £171 and failing to surrender to custody.

The court was told that he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and had borderline personality disorder.

Mitigating, Gareth Henderson-Moore, described his client as "vulnerable", who was taking medication for his conditions, but had them stolen from him when he moved into shared accommodation, which badly affected his mental health.

He said that Nicholson had tried to take his own life with a heroin overdose, but failed and he ended up with an addiction to the drug. He then resorted to stealing to feed his habit.

Mr Henderson-Moore added: "He is remorseful. He accepts the it's an intolerable offence to commit, but at the time he was not subject to his medication and was using illicit substances by way of a crutch."

He said that Nicholson had since become free from drugs and was back on his medication.

Judge Tom Bayliss QC said because he had been on a suspended sentence for the attack in the Wakefield bar, a custodial sentence was "inevitable".

He handed him 12 months' jail.