Man in court over headbutt

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A drunk man headbutted a member of staff at Asda who had asked him to leave the store.

Wigan magistrates Court heard how Paul Sweeney, of Warrington Road, Wigan, became aggressive after the employee asked him to leave because he had previously been banned from the store on Soho Street.

The 33-year-old had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of theft from a shop, one of stealing £232.37 of alcohol and one of stealing alcohol of an unknown value from the same Asda store, and one of assault by beating.

Tess Kenyon, prosecuting, said: “On December 7, a man was seen on CCTV taking the tags from a number of items, placing them into a trolley and walking out the store without making any attempt to pay.

“On December 9, at the same store a man filled a trolley and tried to leave without paying but he was stopped by staff and ran away.

“On February 23, an Asda employee saw Mr Sweeney enter the store and asked him to leave because he had been banned. The member of staff said that Mr Sweeney was drunk and ‘headbutted me in the face’.

“He said ‘it shocked me but I managed to get Paul outside, he then slapped me. I was only doing my job’.

“Mr Sweeney was arrested and interviewed. In relation to the assault he said he couldn’t remember what had happened because he had drunk two bottles of vodka and 20 pints of lager and cider. On a scale of one to 10 of how drunk he was he described himself as 11.

“He was shown CCTV and accepted it was him who had head butted the member of staff and apologised for his actions and said there was no excuse for it. He was shown footage of the two thefts and accepted that was him.”

The court heard that Sweeney has only one previous conviction from 10 years ago and that he had been suffering from mental health problems including depression and anxiety.

His mental health nurse told the court that she was working with him to address his mental health issues and that he had been engaging well to tackle them and his drinking.

The magistrates told Sweeney: “We find it absolutely abhorrent that a person going about their business was head butted by someone in the grip of alcohol.”

Sweeney was given a 12-month community order, with a rehabilitation activity requirement of 20 days, an alcohol treatment requirement for six months and a curfew from 6pm until 6am.

He was also ordered to pay £100 compensation, a £60 victim surcharge and £85 prosecution costs.