A CYCLIST who hit two men over the head with a metal D-lock, causing one of them a depressed fracture to his skull, has escaped being jailed – to save his family from eviction.
A judge at Warwick Crown Court heard Stephen Quinn had carried out the attacks after trying to take the law into his own hands by running off with the car keys of one of the men.
Quinn, 42, of Winston Avenue, Coventry, pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm and wounding, and was sentenced to two years in prison suspended for two years and ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work.
Prosecutor Ian Speed said that in September 2016 Andrew Tovey was at the Bell Green, Coventry, home of a friend of his, Daniel Anderson, helping to tidy up his garden.
Quinn turned up on his bicycle, and there was a verbal altercation between him and Mr Anderson over a car, which Mr Anderson asked another friend to move and handed him the keys.
But Quinn snatched the keys and ran off with them – but was caught and the keys were taken from him.
As the other men returned to Mr Anderson’s home, Quinn, brandishing the metal D-lock from his bike, struck Mr Tovey twice to his head.
Mr Anderson tried to push Quinn away, and was also struck with the lock, causing a wound to his face, said Mr Speed.
Mr Tovey had cuts to the left side of his head and to his cheek – and a depressed fracture to his skull, as a result of which he says he still suffers headaches, is unable to work, and gets dizzy when playing with his children.
Recorder Stephen Linehan QC observed that Quinn says he had seen Mr Anderson driving the car that morning, and ‘was aware or believed’ that Mr Anderson had no licence.
Marcus Harry, defending, said Quinn told Mr Anderson he was going to report him, and grabbed the keys to prevent the car, which he considered to be evidence, being moved.
“He would say it was a misguided attempt at being a dutiful citizen.
“The men chased him and were trying to trip him up so they could get the keys back, and they held on to him and took the keys from him.”
Mr Harry said Quinn was taken back to where the car was parked, and where he had left his bike, and hit out with the lock, which he had in his hand.
“Mr Quinn is quite clear that he felt there was a level of threat. There were three men in front of him who were unhappy about his behaviour. He accepts he went too far in his actions.”
Mr Harry said Quinn and his wife have three children, the oldest of which is at university, and at the time he was under ‘immense pressure’ because his wife was suffering from depression following the birth of their youngest, who is now 15 months old.
And he added that Quinn and his wife, who work different part-time shifts to allow each of them to care for the children while the other is working, had fallen into rent arears.
A possession order was suspended on condition that they pay the rent and a portion towards the arrears each month – and his wife would have difficulty doing so herself if he was in custody.
Sentencing Quinn, Recorder Linehan told him: “You involved yourself in a situation where you knew a person was driving a car not in possession of a driving licence, and you saw the car parked near to where he lived.
“A person came out with the keys to move the car, and you took it into your head you did not want the car moved because it was evidence, and you snatched the keys and ran off with them.
“There was absolutely no justification for that. You are not a police officer, you cannot just seize private property. It was inevitable those people would go after you.
“They moved back to where the car was, and while there you had in your possession a metal bicycle lock, and you used it, swinging it twice at the head of one of the people.
“They must have been heavy blows, for he suffered a depressed fracture of his skull, and he continues to suffer disabilities as a result of what you did.
“Only a prison sentence is appropriate. But it is said if I send you immediately to prison there is a real risk the family home will be lost, and your family will be homeless, with all the damaging consequences that would have.”