Torpoint homeowner threatened with claw hammer during drugs deal
A TORPOINT homeowner used Facebook to track down a man who brandished a claw hammer at him in a drugs deal that went wrong, a court has heard.
Ryan Nicholson, 21, went on trial on Monday at Truro Crown Court accused of aggravated burglary which he denied, claiming that he had been invited into the house on Anthony Road to buy £600 cannabis.
Philip Lee, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said Philip Rundle was at home with his wife, uncle and teenage daughter on March 25 when he became aware that a man – who would later be identified as Nicholson – was in the room.
Mr Lee said: “The defendant was brandishing a claw hammer. He was shouting demands. He pushed Mr Rundle’s chair and Mr Rundle went to the floor.”
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Mr Rundle’s Uncle Brian Pudner had heard shouting and went to investigate but was pushed to the ground.
Nicholson, along with two other unidentified men, left the property and ran away and Mr Rundle told police that a set of keys, a Playstation controller and Mr Pudner’s tobacco and lighter had been stolen from the kitchen.
Mr Lee said that Mr Rundle made his own enquiries and was directed to Nicholson’s Facebook page.
Nicholson was arrested by police and identified by both Mr Rundle and his wife during an identity parade.
Nicholson, of Station Road, Keyham, Plymouth, said that he had been there to buy the Class B drug but that at some point during the transaction bad feeling developed and he took the money and left, taking not only the cannabis but also the lighter, which was found at his home when he was arrested.
In 2009, at Plymouth Crown Court, Mr Pudner and Mr Rundle were convicted of possessing cannabis.
After discussion between prosecution and defence counsel it was decided to accept Nicholson’s plea of guilty to the lesser charges of affray, theft of a Zippo lighter and possession of cannabis on the second day of his trial for aggravated burglary.
Jason Beal, defending, said: “Of course there remains a dispute as to why it was that Mr Nicholson was there that evening.”
He added that Nicholson’s life had been dominated by an addiction to cannabis.
Sentencing, Judge Eric Salomonsen said: “It is clear that in fact you were there to acquire cannabis, you did acquire cannabis, you were found in possession of cannabis two days later.”
Nicholson was jailed for 23 months including eight months for breaching a suspended sentence order imposed in January 2012 for battery, theft and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.