A Buxton man with a significant history of violent behaviour has been jailed for two separate unprovoked assaults.
Joshua David Anthony Heathcote, 28, repeatedly punched Christopher Hamilton in the first attack on December 28, High Peak Magistrates’ Court heard. At one point Heathcote put so much pressure on Mr Hamilton’s neck that he almost blacked out.
The court heard Heathcote had then turned up at a friend’s home in the early hours of December 29 and assaulted guest Russell McKeith, who had been asleep on the sofa.
John Cooper, prosecuting, said the first incident had taken place at a family gathering over the festive period, with drinks at home before a trip to the pub.
He said Heathcote had repeatedly asked the complainant for an arm wrestle, trying to provoke a reaction. When that did not work, Heathcote hit Mr Hamilton from behind before punching him five or six times. The defendant put both arms around Mr Hamilton’s neck and pulled him backwards, blocking his airway until he started to black out
Referring to the second incident, Mr Cooper said Mr McKeith had been asleep on the sofa when Heathcote turned up at the property. He did not know Heathcote and told him his friend was asleep upstairs.
In a statement read out in court, Mr McKeith said: “He went to walk into the address and I stopped him and said ‘who are you?’ and the male punched me to the right side of my head.”
The court heard Heathcote punched Mr McKeith a further three times, before pushing him down by his throat and leaving.
When interviewed, Heathcote claimed Mr Hamilton had been aggressive towards him, but made no comment about the assault on Mr McKeith.
Ian Baker, defending, said Heathcote, who admitted two counts of assault by beating, was studying towards a computer science diploma.
While accepting Heathcote’s record was an aggravating factor, Mr Baker urged magistrates to suspend any prison sentence.
The first assault, Mr Baker explained, had followed a falling out at a family get-together, but he could say little about the assault on Mr McKeith.
Jailing Heathcote for 24 weeks, magistrate Bob Graham said: “These were both serious incidents. We believe they were both unprovoked and drink would seem to be involved.
“They were prolonged attacks. It was not just one single punch, and you had Mr Hamilton in a dangerous neck hold.”
He said custody was the only sentence they could give Heathcote, who had a significant history of violent behaviour.
Heathcote, of Milldale Avenue, must also pay an £80 government surcharge.