Attack man’s prison let-off

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A clubber who broke a man’s nose in a fit of temper has narrowly escaped jail after turning over a new leaf.

Judge Roger Keen told 36-year-old John Haigh he had been facing a three-year prison sentence - but that he had ‘rarely seen’ someone so successfully change their behaviour since arrest.

The judge said it was ‘extremely rare’ for a defendant to escape custody for serious night-time violence, but he was going to give Haigh, of Church Walk, Denaby, a chance. Following his arrest last May, Haigh had been referred to drug treatment agencies and attended regularly, and become involved in voluntary work looking after the pets of elderly people who were hospitalised or infirm.

Judge Keen deferred sentence on Haigh for six months.

He told him: “I have rarely seen someone who has managed to turn things around in 12 months as successfully as you have.”

He told him if he remained drug-free, kept his job, saved up to pay compensation to the victim, and committed no more offences he would stay out of jail.

“I will impose a prison sentence that isn’t immediate - it is up to you,” he said.

Sheffield Crown Court heard Haigh got embroiled in violence after a car pulled up outside Escapade nightclub in Barnsley to collect two women, and Haigh told passenger Liam Riley: “You are giving me a lift to Denaby.”

Mr Riley refused but Haigh, who was slurring his words, repeated his demand four times before Mr Riley, 19, told his friend to drive off.

Louise Gallagher, prosecuting, said Mr Riley claimed Haigh then threw a beer bottle which struck his nose, and began kicking the car, forcing the driver to stop and push him away.

The victim was taken to Rotherham Hospital where his bleeding nose was diagnosed as broken. He also had a swollen and bruised face.

Police arrested Haigh and found cocaine on him, and in the police van he discarded a Kinder egg containing eight plastic bags of cocaine. Further cocaine powder and tablets were found at his home.

Miss Gallagher said the total street value of the cocaine found in his possession was just under £1,000.

He had previously been jailed for supplying Class A drugs in 2000.

Haigh admitted assault causing actual bodily harm and possessing cocaine with intent to supply.

Danny Simpson, defending, said he understood a lift had been arranged for him with the two young women and he was about to get into the car when the driver moved off.

“He lost his temper and in the heat of the moment kicked out,” said Mr Simpson.

He had battled with drug addiction for many years but put it behind him after his jail term, he said. But when he left his job to care for his elderly grandmother in 2009 he grew depressed and took up drugs again.

Even after his grandmother died and he returned to work he continued to use a small amount of drugs for himself.

“He ended up supplying other users in his circle to pay for the drugs he himself was consuming,” said Mr Simpson.