Wigan's Week In Court

Round-up of people brought before local magistrates ...
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A man who caused criminal damage to two people’s homes has been sent to prison. Anthony Roby, 32, of no fixed address, was told that an aggravating factor to the November 20 attacks in which he smashed a £500 kitchen door belonging to Nathan Handley and shattered a £200 back door pane of glass belonging to Jenny Wane because they were premeditated and the victims were inside at the time. He criminal record also counted against him and he was jailed for 12 weeks. Roby must also pay £128 to victim services.

A six-month prison sentence has been imposed on a Wigan man found in the street with drugs and armed with a knife. Dean Hitchen was told he was getting a custodial term by borough justices because of his already bad criminal record. The hearing was told that the 41-year-old of Wolcott Drive, Platt Bridge, was stopped by police on Gas Street in the town and found to be carrying a kitchen knife and a quantity of cannabis on November 19. Admitting to both offences, Hitchen was also ordered to pay £213 to victim services and the court.

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Wigan and Leigh Magistrates CourtWigan and Leigh Magistrates Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court
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A young Wigan man who admitted to having a library containing hundreds of “child porn” images has been given a three-year community punishment. Robert Newport, 26, of St James Crescent, Bickershaw, had appeared before Wigan and Leigh magistrates to plead guilty to possessing 695 prohibited images of children and creating 227 images which fall into the most serious category of abuse (A). He further admitted to creating 230 category B images and 1,000 category C. The offences took place between 2014 and 2019. Having been sent to Bolton Crown Court for sentence, Newport’s community order included completing 20 days of rehabilitation activities and 80 hours of unpaid work. He is also the subject of a five-year sexual harm prevention order and must sign on the Sex Offenders’ Register for the same amount of time.

A young Wigan man has admitted to being a serial shoplifter. Joshua Hughes, 23, of no fixed address, appeared before borough justices to plead guilty to eight counts of theft from local stores. Most of his thieving was of spirits but he also stole fragrance, an electric razor and wireless chargers after targeting Asda, TK Maxx and Superdrug during various dates in October and November. He also admitted to breaching bail conditions. He was remanded in custody pending sentence at the same court on December 14.

A man found in public with a knife disguised as a credit card has been ordered to carry out 200 hours’ unpaid work. Andris Brants, 20, of Anderton Street, Ince, appeared before Wigan magistrates to admit having the blade in Wigan on January 22. He must also pay £180 to victim services and the court.

A young man has been accused of attacking his partner twice after months of controlling behaviour and then trying to talk her out of testifying against him. Lyas Culshaw, 23, of Hemfield Road, Ince, is charged with causing Sophie Barrow actual bodily harm on May 27 and then launching a far more savage assault - termed malicious wounding with intent - the following day. This, Wigan magistrates heard, followed five months of coercive and threatening behaviour and, when Ms Barrow went to the police, Culshaw is alleged to have contacted her several times on May 29 in a bid to pervert the course of justice. He has yet to enter pleas and the bench released him on bail until he makes a first appearance before a Bolton Crown Court judge on January 21. But that bail is conditional and means he must observe an electronically tagged curfew and not have any contact with the complainant or any prosecution witnesses.

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A man who twice sexually assaulted an acquaintance’s partner has been jailed for six years. Married dad-of-one James Armstrong had taken drink and drug while at the couple’s home before slipping upstairs to attack his victim while she slept. The 33-year-old, of Gidlow Lane, Wigan, had denied two counts of assault by penetration, saying the sex was consensual, but was found guilty following a trial at Bolton Crown Court. As well as the custodial sentence, Armstrong must sign on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life and has been made the subject of a 10-year restraining order preventing any contact with his victim. The hearing was told that on the night in question - December 20, 2019 - the 28-year-old victim and her partner wanted a quiet night in. The woman went up to bed while the men watched a film. Twice Armstrong went upstairs and the partner assumed it was to use the bathroom. Then after the second visit Armstrong shook him suddenly by the hand, wished him merry Christmas and left. Shortly afterwards the shocked and distressed woman came down to say she had been attacked. The partner was furious and wanted to go round to Armstrong’s house straight away but his girlfriend stopped him because she didn’t want to upset his family. The police were called and a clinching piece of evidence came the next morning when Armstrong sent the man a text saying he didn’t know what had been going through his head and “everything is at stake here”. In interview Armstrong repeatedly said “no comment” to all questions, but 20 days later he gave a second statement in which he claimed that he had been invited into the bedroom by the complainant and that the sex had been consensual before he had changed his mind and hastily left. The victim said she had awoken to find she was being sexually assaulted and when she then realised that it was Armstrong, she kicked him away, telling him to go downstairs. The hearing was told the defendant repeatedly told her “shhhh.” In a victim impact statement to the court, the young woman said the attacks had hit her badly. She suffered panic attacks, was “hypervigilant” and wary of leaving the house, she had started neglecting herself and it had adversely affected the physical relationship with her partner. Her partner said, “My girlfriend had hoped that his conviction and sentencing would give her some closure but it has not helped so she is going to have to seek counselling.

As far as I am concerned, I am glad that there has been justice. The man I had called my friend died on that night. I don’t know the person who was in that courtroom.”

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