Addicts walk free after fight
5:30am Friday 6th December 2013 in News
TWO drug addict drunks who assaulted a vulnerable man in his room at a hostel, emptying a fire extinguisher into his face, have walked free from court.
Lee Sparks and Shaun O’Sullivan, 24, set about the man after a petty argument escalated a few days before Christmas last year.
They had been due to face a trial until a policeman heard 33-year-old Sparks boasting about what he had done and that the victim would never turn up at court.
But after hearing how the pair have used the year in between to get clean of drugs and in Sparks’case to find work, a judge imposed suspended sentences.
Hannah Squire, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court that 43-year-old drinker Ian Pounds is vulnerable and has mental health problems.
She said he was living at the Amethyst Guest House on Sheppard Street on Thursday, December 20 last year, as were his attackers.
They had all been drinking in his room when a petty argument broke out about O’Sullivan wanting to sleep on the floor of his room.
She said the defendant assaulted him, Sparks using a piece of plastic and O’Sullivan a piece of wood.
They both left the room, returning soon after with a fire extinguisher which was let off in Mr Pound’s eyes before he was struck over the head with it.
Sparks then hit him on the arm with a metal pole before the pair fled, leaving Pounds in tears.
After pleading not guilty, a policeman heard Sparks telling a friend “I ain’t pleading to this, he ain’t coming to court, I threatened him twice,” and adding “I did him with a fire extinguisher”.
O’Sullivan, of Kingshill Road, and Sparks, of Upavon Court, both pleaded guilty to actual bodily harm.
For the first time in a long time he said he was drug free and had even got off subutex, a replacement medication.
O’Sullivan, he said, had been in custody for four months on remand having served a short sentence imposed by magistrates and so was also off drugs.
Passing sentence, Judge Douglas Field said: “A significant feature of this incident is the drink and drugs relating to both offenders.
“Now we have O’Sullivan who is clean and Sparks, who after years of drug abuse and petty offending, is clean.
“This was a deplorable incident. You were all drunk. You must have known that the unfortunate Mr Pound was vulnerable with mental health issues.
“You ended up in his room and, as so often happens when people are very, very drunk, there is some sort of minor dispute that has escalated.
“He was struck, one of you used a fire extinguisher on him; he was struck by the fire extinguisher.
“Quite fortunately he wasn't seriously injured.
“There were lacerations so it was serious.
“Both of you have been in front of the courts on many occasions, also for violence related offences.”
He imposed three month jail terms suspended for 18 months and told the men they would be on supervision.
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