Homeless man involved in unprovoked street attack

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A HOMELESS Wiganer is facing a community punishment after punching another man in the town centre.

David Jones, of no fixed address, tracked down Lee Mills and threw the blow, which hit the side of his head causing a facial wound above the left eyebrow, in the doorway of B&M Bargains on January 12.

The incident occurred after Mr Mills had been drinking in the Moon Under Water pub and left to go and get some food from B&M Bargains.

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court was told Jones, 45, had approached Mr Mills in Market Place and asked him who he was, to which Mr Mills did not reply. The prosecution said Mr Mills was then followed by the defendant to the entrance of the bargains shop, where he was punched in an unprovoked attack.

However, Andrew Stock, defending, said Jones had felt threatened by Mr Mills, who he said had whispered to him: “You’re next” as he walked past him.

Mr Stock told the court the defendant understood this to refer to an incident involving Mr Mills the week before, in which one of his friends had been injured.

Jones, who has been living on the streets for around four months and sleeping in the doorway of the Argos store on Market Street, pleaded guilty to assault by beating and was freed on conditional bail while a probation service report is prepared to help magistrates decide on an appropriate sentence.

The court also heard that Jones, who has previous convictions for offences committed while he has been homeless, was in breach of a conditional discharge when he committed the offence.

Richard Stone, prosecuting, told the court the assault had left Mr Mills feeling very anxious and applied for compensation.

Mr Stock said his client had entered a guilty plea at the first possible opportunity, and asked for the court to adjourn the case as Jones’s girlfriend was moving into accommodation in Worsley Mesnes, which would offer him somewhere to live and a better chance of complying with any community order.

He said: “My client accepts causing the injury and takes responsibility for a criminal offence.

“He has had difficult personal circumstances but his appearances before the court are not as prolific as in the past and his life seems to be moving in the right direction.”

Sentencing was adjourned until February 8.