Homeless man knocked fellow rough sleeper to the ground after chase through Wigan town centre, court hears

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court

A pair of homeless men became embroiled in a scuffle after one disappeared with the other’s rucksack full of his possessions and food, a court heard.

Craig Greenwood chased David Johnson through Wigan town centre before knocking him to the ground, after the latter had gone missing earlier in the day with Greenwood’s bag which contained all of his possessions and food.

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Greenwood, of no fixed address, had asked Mr Johnson to look after the bag for a short while, only for Mr Johnson to leave the area for several hours and return without it.

In a hearing at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court, justices were told how “the red mist” came over 30-year-old Greenwood when he spotted Mr Johnson again later that day.

The court heard how Greenwood, a rough sleeper, would often help delivery drivers load and unload their vans in the small hours of the morning at a town centre bakery.

In return for his efforts, the drivers would usually give him a small selection of food items like sandwiches, that were otherwise due to be thrown away.

After helping one such driver around midnight on Saturday, June 29, Greenwood was given an amount of food that would’ve been “enough to last him the weekend,” according to prosecutor Tess Kenyon.

Later in the day, Greenwood asked Mr Johnson, who was also homeless but was staying at a night shelter, to look after his bag full of food and other items for a short while, though the reason for the request was not revealed to the court.

Mr Johnson, however, left the area shortly afterwards, returning to the area around 7.40pm and seemingly intoxicated.

It was then that Greenwood spotted him, confronted him and asked him where his bag was.

Defending, Melissa Fagan told the bench that when Mr Johnson replied he “didn’t know” where the bag was, “the red mist came over (Greenwood) and he acted in anger.”

Greenwood snapped and chased him through the town centre, catching up with him at the junction of Standishgate and Crompton Street and knocking Mr Johnson to the ground before throwing more punches.

The incident was captured on CCTV, with camera operators notifying police who quickly arrived on the scene to arrest Greenwood.

He was hauled before magistrates having spent the rest of his weekend in a police cell, and pleaded guilty to using threatening or abusive language and behaviour.

The case was adjourned until July 22, when Greenwood will be sentenced after justices hear a report from the probation service. He was granted conditional bail until his next appearance.