Support worker’s terrifying ordeal

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A drunken Wigan man headbutted his support worker in the face, held him prisoner in his flat and threatened to kill him.

Paul Sherrington was narrowly spared jail after pleading guilty to assault by beating when he appeared at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court.

The hearing was told that the 32-year-old of Buer Avenue, Worsley Mesnes, attacked support worker Stephen Norris on March 19, after he had been allocated to work with Sherrington the day earlier.

Mr Norris was escorting the defendant from his support accommodation to a nearby property in the same flat block, where Sherrington claimed he had left some tobacco.

But on the way to the other flat, Sherrington suddenly turned to his victim and butted him in the face.

A statement from Mr Norris, read to justices by the prosecution, said: “Sherrington was drunk. I was trying to calm him down, but then he squared up to me.

“No one I work with had a good word to say about Sherrington. He is volatile and aggressive.”

Sherrington - who suffers from learning difficulties - allegedly began to cry and apologised to Mr Norris immediately after the unprovoked attack. Mr Norris said the pair began to return to Sherrington’s flat, but that he was still agitated.

It was when the pair reached the home that Sherrington locked the door and prevented Mr Norris from leaving, fearing that he would be arrested over the beating.

Sherrington told Mr Norris: “I’m going to kill you, then kill myself,” after hearing the police might be called.

Although traumatic, Mr Norris’s ordeal was brief - he claimed Sherrington let him free after approximately 10 minutes, having convinced him he would not tell anyone about the altercation.

Mr Norris did in fact call the police who upon arrival found Sherrington pacing and waving his arms around shouting: “Go on, lock me up!”

Sherrington had eight convictions for 12 previous offences, including common assault and false imprisonment. He had apparently drank a bottle of vodka in the hours before his meeting with Mr Norris.

Defending, Graham Simpson said it was unclear how his client had acquired the alcohol, as he was in supported accommodation and was not in control of his own finances.

Mr Simpson also argued against a prison sentence, claiming that Sherrington’s “limited learning capacity” would replicate the “very frightening” jail experience he went through after a previous conviction.

Magistrates took heed of Mr Simpson’s words, handing Sherrington an eight-week sentence, suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to pay £200 compensation to his victim.