Halifax mechanic hit with glass coffee table during early hours robbery at his flat

Bradford Crown Court
Bradford Crown Court

A 24-year-old Shelf man has been jailed for more than 16 years after he slammed a heavy glass coffee table onto the head of a robbery victim during an attack at his Halifax home.

A judge described the violence used by James Abson as "gratuitous" and said it was fortunate that the use of the table had not caused greater injury or cost the complainant his life.

Abson and an unknown accomplice kicked in the door of Jason Oakes' flat and subjected him to the appalling attack in February.

A crown court jury heard how the car mechanic had fallen asleep watching television, but he was woken by a loud bang as the two intruders forced their way into his one-bedroom flat.

Mr Oakes was knocked to the ground by a punch and the attack continued as he tried to crawl back to the sofa.

"As the complainant tried to pull himself onto the sofa to get up, he turned and saw the stocky male had picked up his glass coffee table and he brought it down on the complainant's head striking him by his right ear," prosecutor Gerald Hendron told Bradford Crown Court.

"The force of the blow knocked the complainant out for a short time."

When Mr Oakes came round he found that the men had stolen the keys to a VW Passat parked outside and he saw the car being driven away.

Mr Oakes, who later discovered that his wallet had also been taken, was treated in hospital for wounds to his forehead and right ear following the attack.

The jury heard that the wound behind his ear required six stitches.

In a victim impact statement he described how he had been unable to return to his flat since the attack and he had to sleep in his car for some time before finding accommodation at a friend's home.

He said he couldn't bring himself to go back to the flat because of the "shocking memories" and he was still not sleeping properly.

Abson, of Moor Stone Place, Shelf, had gone on trial earlier this week after denying a series of charges arising out of the attack, but today (Wed) he pleaded guilty to robbery, wounding wth intent to cause grievous bodily harm and taking a vehicle without authority.

The court heard that the victim received an anonymous tip-off about Abson's involvement and the defendant's fingerprints were also found on the table.

The car was later found soon after the robbery, but by then it had been fitted with false plates.

Judge Rose heard that Abson had previously been locked up in 2012 as a "three-strikes" house burglar and at the time of the offences in February he was still on licence from an 18-week prison sentence.

Jailing Abson for 16 years and three months Judge Rose concluded that he was a dangerous offender and he imposed an extended licence period of four years.

The judge said the use of the table was wholly unnecessary and "utterly wicked" because the complainant was unable to defend himself.

"I am, without doubt, satisfied that you have caused serious psychological harm to Mr Oakes," the judge told Abson.

"It is a matter of great regret to read this young man has been sleeping in his car since the commission of your offending against him because he couldn't bring himself to go back into his flat.

"He has suffered, and continues to suffer, sleeplessness, recurring nightmares and thoughts about what you did to him in the privacy of his own home."