A GREENFIELD man has been locked up after assaulting a cricket club barman in what was described as a ‘sustained attack’ and the uncovering of a drug dealing operation worth tens of thousands of pounds.
Jonathan Fidler, of Grove Street, pointed an imitation firearm at his shocked victim after approaching him as he went home from Greenfield Cricket Club to pick his children up from primary school.
But after being arrested for that offence, searches at his and his family’s properties uncovered marijuana plants, debtors lists, scales and cocaine.
Now Fidler has been sentenced to four years at a Young Offender Institution after appearing at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court.
Prosecutor Lisa Boocock told the hearing that Fidler, 20, had been known to cause problems at the cricket club on Ladhill Lane for some time but had not come across the volunteer barman for a while.
However on November 16, he confronted him as he made his way from working at a funeral and after shouting the odds, ended up throwing his bike toward him, grazing his arm.
Fidler then assaulted the man, producing what was described as a BB gun, hitting his victim over the head with it twice and then pulling the trigger three times.
The victim got away but as he entered the cricket club, Fidler threw a breeze block at the door.
Police arrested him but searches later uncovered more serious crimes in the form of plants that were either growing whose drugs had been bagged up.
The court was told 188.5 grams of cannabis was found in bags along with three growing plants and 10 harvested ones.
Also discovered were two debtors lists, one with five names totalling £180, the other with 17 names totalling £10,295, and a number of mobile phones.
Eight bags of cocaine, totalling two-and-a-half grams, were also found along with scales that had traces of the drug on them and £620 in cash.
The hearing was also told by Miss Boocock: “The victim was fearful for the safety of his family.
“It was a physical attack in a very public place in the middle of the afternoon.”
Fidler had already made three separate appearances in court after being arrested.
The court was told Fidler’s mother wrote a letter describing the ‘struggles’ she had coping as he struggled with mental health problems.
And defence barrister Steven Sullivan also highlighted his Asperger’s Syndrome when trying to get the sentence reduced to a lower level.
Police referring to him as a ‘low level street dealer, mainly in cannabis,’ was also mentioned a number of times in mitigation.
However, Judge Mark Savill handed down consecutive jail sentences of two years each – two for the assault possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear, two for possession of a Class B substance with intent to supply, as well as a later charge of possession of a Class A substance with intent to supply, all of which were admitted. Earning Fidler a reduction.
And he did admit the effects of Asperger’s syndrome contributed to his offending.
Judge Savill said: “I step back and I ask myself, ‘What is in the circumstances a just and proportionate sentence?’
“On one hand you have your difficulties but on the other it was a serious set of offences. It has not been an entirely straight forward exercise.
“I accept that your behaviour has been underpinned by these conditions. You have made attempts to hurt yourself and attempted to hurt yourself in custody.
“Your victim was doing nothing out of the ordinary, certainly nothing to provoke you when you approached him on your bike, then without provocation you threw your bike at him.
“This was the beginning of a sustained attack and you produced a shiny metal object that we now know to be an imitation firearm, you hit him twice on the back of the head with that weapon.”
Fidler, who was told he must serve half that term before being eligible to be released on licence, was also given an indefinite restraining order banning him from entering Greenfield Cricket Club.
Judge Savill warned: “You would be very well advised to never come into contact with the victim of his family ever again.”