Man jailed for part in vicious attack in Mold over drugs debt

Reporter:

Court Reporter

A MAN who took part in a vicious attack with his brother which left their victim fighting for his life has been jailed.

Christopher Francis Hall, 46, was left in a critical condition following an assault by Steven Crowney and his brother Michael Cullen at a property in Nant Garmon, Mold, on Thursday, January 5.

Mold Crown Court heard from Robert Philpotts, prosecuting, how Mr Hall owed drug money to Cullen and that the two had come to blows on two previous occasions.

On the evening of January 5, Crowney, 32, who earlier pleaded guilty to a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and Cullen, 31, approached Mr Hall in a bedroom at the property in Mold before Crowney punched the
victim.

After Mr Hall repelled the attack, Cullen, who has pleaded guilty to a charge of wounding with intent, brandished a knife and subjected Mr Hall to a “very serious attack”.

Mr Philpotts said Mr Hall was taken to Mold Community Hospital before being rushed to Wrexham Maelor, where he was given a patient score of three on the Glasgow Coma Scale – the lowest level which indicates deep unconsciousness.

Despite being left with residual brain damage, Mr Hall was able to give police officers sufficient details from which they identified Cullen as a suspect and a Renault Twingo as a vehicle of interest.

On January 11, the Renault was stopped while being driven in Prescot, Merseyside.

Crowney, who was in the driver’s seat, was arrested.

Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) software showed Crowney, of Ratcliffe Place, Prescot, had driven from Runcorn to Mold on the evening of January 5 and had later driven through Broughton heading back to Merseyside.

A victim impact statement from Mr Hall was read to the court by Mr Philpott which said he was still waiting for surgery and was unable to bend the fingers on one of his hands.

He suffered from flashbacks about the attack and was anxious, depressed and had weekly nightmares.

Mr Hall said he had used drugs for 20 years but had now stopped as he realised they had almost led to him losing his life.

Michael Bagley, defending, said a distinction needed to be made between what his client had done and what Cullen would go on to do during the incident.

“They are in a different league,” he said, adding: “There is no medical evidence that points to particularly brutal punching.”

Sentencing Crowney, who has 16 previous convictions for 28 offences, including burglary, assault and possession of a prohibited weapon, Judge Rhys Rowlands told him: “You punched Mr Hall before your brother brought out a knife, so it is much less serious than his situation.

“You didn’t have the knife but you did start the violence and Mr Hall was attacked in front of others in someone’s house.

“Your position is very different from your brother but this was a terrifying incident for the victim and others in the house.”

Appearing from custody, Crowney was sentenced to 34 weeks imprisonment and will be made the subject of a five-year restraining order not to contact or approach Mr Hall.

He will also pay a victim surcharge of £140.

Cullen will appear at Mold Crown Court for sentencing on August 7.

Following sentencing, Detective Inspector Jackie Downes at Mold CID said: “Those who resort to the use of violence must realise there is a consequence, both to their victim and their own liberty.

“Violent behaviour will not be tolerated in our communities but when it does occur we will find, arrest and prosecute the offenders and they go to prison.

“I hope the victim and community feel some sense of justice and reassurance and Crowney will now have time to reflect upon his violent ways”

“We will continue to work with our communities to make North Wales a safer place.

“Our message is a simple one – never resort to violence, think about the consequences and the impact it can have on the victim, their families and the wider community.”

Email:

it@nwn.co.uk

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