Pair carried out baseball beating over £60 drugs debt

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Staff reporter (Leader Live)

TWO thugs bludgeoned a man with a baseball bat over a £60 drug debt – and one later threatened to slit his throat if he “grassed”, a court heard.
 
Brandon Hobbin, 18, and Zakaria Meziani, 19, were part of a 10-man gang that confronted Charlie Jupp on Panton Road, Hoole, on April 29 this year.
 
Chester Crown Court heard Mr Jupp had tried in vain to defend himself with a walking stick, and was left with a 2 to 3cm gash in the back of his head and bruising to his legs and body.
 
The pair, who have no previous convictions, each received four month prison terms, suspended for 12 months, and were ordered to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work in the community.
 
Sentencing them, the Recorder Miss Karen Brody, said: “Both of you went to confront a young man to ask him to pay a debt in relation to some drugs. It’s very serious to go to someone’s property armed with baseball bats and go on to use them. He [the victim] would have been terrified and could have been seriously hurt.
 
“The people of Chester don’t want people with baseball bats running around attacking others; it’s very frightening.”
 
John Oates, prosecuting, told the court Mr Jupp had incurred the £60 debt after a cannabis drug deal “went wrong” in April.
 
He failed to pay up and was assaulted by members of a gang soon after, although the incident was never reported to the police.
 
He then received threatening messages on Facebook from Hobbin, of Linden Grove, Chester, who claimed the debt had transferred to him and had increased to £120.
 
On Tuesday, April 29, at about 10.15pm Mr Jupp and fellow residents heard the sounds of a vehicle being vandalised and people saying ‘get Charlie out or we’ll smash the car’.
 
“When he got out he saw a gang of about 10 people, including Hobbin and Meziani, who were both armed with baseball bats,” Mr Oates said. “They then attacked him.
 
“He was knocked down semi-conscious. He lay bleeding heavily from the head and there was a 2 to 3cm wound to the back of his head.”
 
Mr Jupp was taken to hospital where his head wound was treated using medical glue.
 
He then received texts from Hobbin warning him not to “grass”, Mr Oates said, including one that read: “If I end up doing time I will slice your throat.”
 
Both defendants later pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm and possession of an offensive weapon in a public place.
 
Defending Meziani, of Pine Grove, Chester, Simon Mills said he had learning difficulties and had been struggling since his father had been forced to return to Morocco.
 
James Bagby, for Hobbin, said his client had lost both his mother and sister in quick succession in 2007 and had struggled to come to terms with the loss.
 
Both defendants were said to be remorseful.Meziani, 19, were part of a 10-man gang that confronted Charlie Jupp on Panton Road, Hoole, on April 29.
 
Chester Crown Court heard Mr Jupp had tried in vain to defend himself with a walking stick, and was left with a 2cm to 3cm gash in the back of his head and bruising to his legs and body.
 
The pair, who have no previous convictions, each received four month prison terms, suspended for 12 months, and were ordered to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work in the community.
 
Sentencing them, the Recorder Miss Karen Brody, said: “Both of you went to confront a young man to ask him to pay a debt in relation to some drugs. It’s very serious to go to someone’s property armed with baseball bats and go on to use them. He [the victim] would have been terrified and could have been seriously hurt.
 
“The people of Chester don’t want people with baseball bats running around attacking others; it’s very frightening.”
 
John Oates, prosecuting, told the court Mr Jupp had incurred the £60 debt after a cannabis drug deal “went wrong” in April.
 
He failed to pay up and was assaulted by members of a gang soon after, although the incident was never reported to the police.
 
He then received threatening messages on Facebook from Hobbin, of Linden Grove, Hoole, Chester, who claimed the debt had transferred to him and had increased to £120.
 
On Tuesday, April 29, at about 10.15pm Mr Jupp and fellow residents heard the sounds of a vehicle being vandalised and people saying ‘get Charlie out or we’ll smash the car’.
 
“When he got out he saw a gang of about 10 people, including Hobbin and Meziani, who were both armed with baseball bats,” Mr Oates said. “They then attacked him.
 
“He was knocked down semi-conscious. He lay bleeding heavily from the head and there was a 2 to 3cm wound to the back of his head.”
 
Mr Jupp was taken to hospital where his head wound was treated using medical glue.
 
He then received texts from Hobbin warning him not to “grass”, Mr Oates said, including one that read: “If I end up doing time I will slice your throat.”
 
Both defendants later pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm and possession of an offensive weapon in a public place.
 
Defending Meziani, of Pine Grove, Hoole, Simon Mills said he had learning difficulties and had been struggling since his father had been forced to return to Morocco.
 
James Bagby, for Hobbin, said his client had lost both his mother and sister in quick succession in 2007 and had struggled to come to terms with the loss.
 
Both defendants were said to be remorseful.

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