Victim had no memory of being waylaid in County Durham store car park

A man who was waylaid as he left a store carrying a tray of cans of lager, had no recollection of what happened to him, a court was told.

The victim had been drinking with his father at a pub in Spennymoor, on July 20, when he began to make his way home.

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Durham Crown Court heard that he called into the Morrisons store in the town and bought a tray of cans of lager, intending to continue drinking when he got home.

Jonathan Harley, prosecuting, said having left the store the next thing the man could recall was people standing around him asking if he was okay, but he could not recall what happened in the intervening period.

Read more: Spennymoor man stabbed car front seat passenger as driver stalled in attempt to get away

He had sustained an injury to the back of the head and there was blood on his face, while he was unsure if he lost consciousness.

Mr Harley told the court: “He could not account for what happened between leaving Morrisons and being on the ground.”

But he said examination of cctv from the Oxford Street store car park helped to fill in the gap, “to an extent”.

Mr Harley said it showed him walking through the store car park, followed by defendant Dean Warwick Martin, shirtless, and another adult male.

“There was a short conversation before he delivered a single blow with his fist to the victim’s head, causing him to stumble towards a car, and her moved off-screen, so it was not clear.”

Mr Harley said the defendant and the other, unidentified man can then be seen walking away.

While there was a suggestion of the victim having suffered a suspected bleed on the brain, Mr Harley said he has been approached to give further medical evidence, or a victim personal statement, but has refused both.

But Mr Harley said the extent of the harm suffered was seen by a police officer who attended the scene and observed the injury to the back of the head and blood around the nose and mouth, while it was apparent that the victim had lost consciousness.

When arrested, the defendant made no comment to police.

Read more: Jailing of man for prolonged attack among cases at Durham Crown Court in recent days

Martin, 36, of Wood View Spennymoor, was originally charged with robbery, but this was not proceeded with by the prosecution, and he admitted a charge of assault causing actual bodily harm, at a hearing last month.

Mr Harley told that hearing the prosecution was not seeking to pursue that charge because the cctv was, “at best unclear”, and it could have been the defendant’s accomplice who took the tray of lager.

The defendant, who had been in custody when he appeared at the plea hearing on September 5, arrived at court for the sentencing hearing having been on bail in recent weeks.

Mr Harley told the hearing Martin has 18 convictions for 36 offenses.

But Miss Lamb said other than an appearance in January this year for two attacks of assaulting an emergency worker, he has nothing on his record since 2015, and his last offense for violence before that was in 2006.

Miss Lamb said he is considered as posing a “low risk” of reoffending and the Probation Service said it could work with the defendant in the community.

Judge Jo Kidd said what is clear is that there was sufficient force in the blow to render the victim unconscious.

She said a prison sentence of six months could be suspended for 18 months, during which time the defendant must undertake 100 hours’ unpaid work and participate in a ‘thinking skills’ program run by the Probation Service.

But she told Martin: “It’s to be hoped your experience of being on remand in custody, combined with the assistance you will receive from probation, will ensure there’s no further offending.”

She added that, among other things, he needs to manage his consumption of alcohol.

Read next:

Spennymoor man jailed for controlling behavior in relationship

Spennymoor man jailed for 54-months for possessing cocaine with intent to supply

Police hunt after disturbance outside Morrisons in Spennymoor

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