Teenager jailed for attacking two men, smashing windows and threatening to petrol bomb house

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

A teenager accused of assaulting his uncle fled court on the morning of his trial and went on to attack another man and threaten to petrol bomb his house.

Nathan Shaw launched a flurry of punches on Ben Higginson just hours before he was supposed to face allegations of assaulting relative Mark Smith - a trial for which he never returned to court - before showing up at his house hours later and smashing his windows.

Other news: Fifty assaults in eight months on emergency service workers in Wigan

In a hearing at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court, 19-year-old Shaw, of no fixed address, was jailed for more than six months for both assaults, as well as matters of criminal damage and a bail act offence.

The court heard that Shaw was “sofa surfing” - staying with friends and relatives for short spells before moving on - at the time of the first offence in November 2019.

Mark Smith, Shaw’s uncle, received a phone call from his father-in-law (Shaw’s grandfather, with whom he was staying at the time) to say that Shaw was “kicking off”.

Mr Smith and his wife immediately drove to the house, and ordered Shaw to leave.

But he became aggressive, jumped up and began punching Mr Smith in the face.

Mr Smith was able to restrain his nephew by placing him in a headlock, and was eventually able to calm him down.

Shaw stopped his assault and began putting on his shoes to leave the house.

But he suddenly turned to Mr Smith again and said: “Are you ready for round two?” then launched a second attack on him, landing at least a dozen more blows to his head.

Again, Mr Smith eventually wrestled him into submission, and this time the police were called.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, Shaw’s grandfather Stephen Shaw said his grandson had been aggressive for many years and needed to be held accountable for his actions.

Shaw pleaded not guilty to assault and was due to stand trial at Wigan and Leigh Courthouse on the afternoon of January 3.

He had presented himself to the court on that morning, but there was no trace of him when his trial was due to begin.

Proceedings went ahead without him and the bench found him guilty in his absence.

Defending, Graham Simpson said that Shaw “had a feeling he would not be leaving court the way he had entered it,” and so went to retrieve his belongings from Ben Higginson, a friend with whom he had recently stayed and had left several items of clothing at his flat.

He approached Mr Higginson outside the Homeless Support Project in Leigh town centre, where the pair had first met.

He asked Mr Higginson to go to his flat to get his belongings, and quickly became aggressive when he was hesitant to do so.

He started hitting him, at least six or seven times according to the prosecution, before leaving the scene.

Mr Higginson was at home later that day when he heard loud banging on his front door. He saw Shaw standing at his front door and demanding entry, threatening to petrol bomb the property if he did not let him in.

He smashed a window before fleeing the scene, at which point Mr Higginson called the police.

Shaw was arrested later in the day by officers following a search of the area.

He was sentenced to a total of 26 weeks in custody, half of which he will serve in prison before serving the second half of the sentence on licence. He was also given a two-year restraining order preventing him from contacting Mr Higginson.

He must also pay £300 compensation for the damaged windows, as well as £50 each to Mr Smith and Mr Higginson.