Suffolk: Young father sentenced for attack on wheelchair user

A YOUNG father who carried out a “vicious and frenzied” assault on a wheelchair user, leaving him permanently injured, has been jailed.

Nikki Cross, 19, of no fixed address, kicked and punched 62-year-old Douglas Dean repeatedly, causing him to fall into a ditch full of water.

As a result of the attack Mr Dean suffered a small brain haemorrhage and permanent damage to his left hand.

Cross, a father-of-two, admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Dean in Wingfield in Suffolk on March 27 last year. He appeared at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday for sentencing.

Prosecutor Naomi Turner told the court that Cross had come to stay in Wingfield with Mr Dean and his wife Pamela who he knew through a friend.

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She said: “On the night of the incident the pair had stayed up late and the defendant suggested going out for a walk to get some air.

“The defendant pushed Mr Dean down a road past a church. Mr Dean said he remembered being lifted out of his wheelchair being punched and kicked and then falling down a bank into a ditch full of water.

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“He was unconscious for some time. When he came round he managed to crawl out of the ditch and walk home, with great difficulty, to his wife.”

Mr Dean was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital where doctors treated him for multiple injuries to his face, head and hand. A CT scan revealed he had suffered a small brain haemorrhage.

Following the incident Cross returned to Mr Dean’s house, put some clothes in a washing machine and ran away. In August he was arrested in Barking in north London.

Matthew Dance, for Cross, said: “During the walk that night Mr Dean asked the defendant to place his hands on his groin area and later tried to touch his backside.

“The defendant in his own words ‘flipped’. He punched Mr Dean in the face twice and kicked him to the body six or seven times.”

Cross was sentenced to three years in detention, to run consecutively to a five year sentence he had been given for a separate rape offence.

Judge Rupert Overbury said: “This was a vicious and frenzied assault which left the victim with serious injuries.

“Even if Mr Dean had posed some sort of threat to you he was a 62-year-old wheelchair user and such a threat must have been very slight.”

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