Man jailed for five years after fracturing scaffolder’s skull outside Bradford supermarket

A MAN has been jailed for five years after fracturing a scaffolder’s skull outside a Bradford supermarket while on bail for a serious robbery.

Lee Hirst, 30, of Strensall Green, Buttershaw, Bradford, struck his victim a single blow to the side of his head causing a bleed on the brain and hearing loss.

Hirst was sentenced on a video link to Leeds Prison today after pleading guilty to the robbery in July, 2018, and unlawful wounding on May 8 this year.

Prosecutor Maryam Ahmad told Bradford Crown Court that he had previous convictions for battery, robbery, wounding and affray.

In 2011, Hirst was locked up for 18 months in a young offender institution after almost killing a pub-goer in a brawl outside a Bradford bar.

He punched the man so hard outside the Boar’s Head in Clayton Heights that he fell with a loud crack as his head hit the ground.

The victim was admitted to Bradford Royal Infirmary in a coma and transferred to Leeds General Infirmary. His brain was bruised and bleeding and his skull fractured. Surgeons said he was fortunate to have survived.

Hirst, then 20, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm and affray.

Miss Ahmad said he linked up with the robbery victim on a dating website.

They went to the man’s home and had “intimate contact.”

Afterwards, they were in the victim’s car when Hirst grabbed four gold chains from round his neck, snatched his phone and punched him twice.

Hirst snapped the car key before fleeing on foot.

His victim sustained bruising and a lump to his face.

Hirst stole three gold chains worth £3,300 and an £800 phone. A fourth chain, valued at £2,000, was found in the vehicle footwell irreparably damaged.

The broken car key cost £180 to replace, the court was told.

The man was now withdrawn and reclusive. He had lost his faith in people and distanced himself from friends and family.

He had searched pawn shops in vain for his stolen jewellery, Miss Ahmad said.

Hirst was on bail when he attacked his second victim outside Lally’s Supermarket in Strensall Green.

The man was walking to the shop with a young woman when Hirst, who lived in a flat nearby, shouted a lewd and coarse remark at the female.

When the man emerged from the shop, Hirst struck him to the side of the head knocking him out.

He was treated in Bradford Royal Infirmary for a fractured skull and a bleed on the brain. He was a scaffolder and could no longer work after suffering the head injury and associated hearing loss. He was now depressed because of the serious and ongoing effect of the assault.

Hirst’s barrister, Imran Khan, said: “He is devastated by his actions and realises the impact they have had on others.”

Mr Khan pointed out legal guidance stating that the coronavirus pandemic should be taken into account when jailing defendants.

But Judge Jonathan Rose replied: “He fractured a man’s skull while on bail for a serious offence of robbery and he prays in aid the virus after what he’s done to this man?”

He stated that Hirst would still have been on bail if he hadn’t carried out the “drunken, drugged up, loutish, unprovoked attack.”

Hirst was jailed for 30 months for the robbery and 30 months for unlawful wounding, the sentences to run consecutively.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus | News