Trio sent to jail after sick attack on disabled victim

Preston Crown Court and (below) Richard Johnson, David Fitzsimons and Zach Bannister.
Preston Crown Court and (below) Richard Johnson, David Fitzsimons and Zach Bannister.
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A man with learning difficulties has been left traumatised after three men slapped and punched him and threw potatoes at him.

The 22-year-old victim has left Blackpool because of the ordeal, during which his face was also smeared with a yellow powder.

Richard Johnson, David Fitzsimons and Zach Bannister.

Richard Johnson, David Fitzsimons and Zach Bannister.

The men, David Fitzsimons, Richard Johnson and Zach Bannister have been jailed for nine months for assault.

Preston Crown Court heard Bannister, 25, of Brockholes Crescent, Poulton, called at the victim’s home on Regent Road, Blackpool, on January 13 followed by Fitzsimons, 32, and Johnson, 40. The men were taking drugs, and began to punch and slap the man several times.

The assault continued later on at Johnson’s flat on Braemar Walk using the potatoes and yellow power.

Shirlie Duckworth, prosecuting, said when the man got away he had blood on his hand, a sore head, jaw and legs and a lump on the back of his head.

The court heard he might have lost consciousness during the attack due to repeated hits to the head.

Police recovered 17 bags of cocaine worth around £2,280 from the flat on Braemar Walk. Lawyers representing the trio told the court there had been “horseplay” on all sides.

Robin Kitching defending Fitzsimons said there had been plenty to occasions where the victim could have walked away.

He said: “His description of being beaten on a regular basis, over a period of time, doesn’t sit with the injuries he sustained.”

Mr Kitching said Fitzsimons, of Chester Road, Blackpool, had been dealing drugs to pay a loan shark.

Janet Ironfield, for Johnson, said: “They were throwing potatoes at each other. The horseplay turned out wrong.”

James Heyworth, for Bannister, said: “But for drink and drugs this incident would no doubt never have happened.

“He is sorry for what he has done.”

Fitzsimons must serve an additional three years for possessing cocaine with intent to supply and Johnson got an extra four months for allowing his home to be used for the supply or attempted supply of the drug.

Speaking after the hearing, Det Con Kim Carbutt said: “This was a frightening experience for a vulnerable young man which has affected him so badly he has severed all ties with Blackpool. I hope he will feel some comfort in knowing they (his attackers) have been dealt with appropriately.”

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