Tuesday, 01 December 2015

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Fake policemen attacked Cumbrian man in his own home

Two thugs left a vulnerable man with a fractured cheekbone after going to his house masquerading as policemen, a court has heard.

Martin Richardson, 29, and Andrew Paul Hall, 30, went round to 53-year-old Mark Challinor’s house in Pategill Road, Penrith, after getting blind drunk at a christening.

The pair, both wearing smart suits, turned up at Mr Challinor’s door on the evening of Sunday July 22, demanding to be let in because they were police officers.

“Open the door – it’s the police, CID,” they shouted. “If you don’t open it we will put it in.”

Mr Challinor did as he was told, but almost immediately Richardson “launched himself” at him, punching him in the face, prosecutor Dick Binstead told Carlisle Crown Court.

Hall then took hold of him and dragged him to the floor, where he lost consciousness.

Mr Challinor came round in time to see Hall going into his bedroom, where he grew a small number of cannabis plants which he used as medication for his asthma. Mr Challinor took the opportunity to escape to a neighbour’s house.

At the same time Sandra Rackham, who lived next door, went to Mr Challinor’s house after hearing the commotion.

The men repeated their claim that they were police officers – “something she did not believe for one moment,” Mr Binstead said – and told her that Mr Challinor was in another house up the road.

The real police were called almost immediately, and they found both men “patently intoxicated” in Hall’s house.

Richardson, still wearing his suit, was in the living room, and Hall, who had changed into more casual gear, was hiding behind the bathroom door.

Mr Challinor’s five cannabis plants – a banned class B drug – were also found there, Mr Binstead said.

The court heard that Mr Challinor, who has accepted a police caution for cultivating cannabis, is now so frightened he is leaving the area. He told the court in a victim impact statement that he felt vulnerable and was “in trepidation” whenever he answered his door.

In addition to the fractured cheekbone and bruises he suffered, he has lost all feeling in the side of his face because of damaged nerves, and the attack has resurrected some psychiatric problems he used to have, he said.

Richardson, of Brougham Street, Penrith, who pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm, was jailed for three and a half years.

Hall, of Prince Charles Close, Penrith, admitted grievous bodily harm and burglary, and was jailed for a total of four years.

Both men had numerous previous convictions, including several for violent offences.


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