Victim of Clitheroe churchyard mugging spots his attacker on Facebook

Close-up of male hands typing a letter on keyboard of laptop
Close-up of male hands typing a letter on keyboard of laptop

Two thugs who mugged a man in a Clitheroe churchyard as he made his way home from the pub are both behind bars.

Burnley Crown Court heard how 28-year-old Daniel Bolton was beaten up and robbed by Christopher Bleasdale (19) and Joseph Bradley (20). He was left with a black eye, a golfball-like swelling on his forehead and a bust nose after he was attacked last June.

Mr Bolton later went on Facebook and found a photo of Bleasdale, who he identified as one of his assailants.

The defendants had both earlier been convicted of setting about a 16-year-old, who had been punched and kicked in Clitheroe. Bradley, of Seedall Avenue, and Bleasdale, of Henthorn Road, both in Clitheroe, had each admitted robbery.

Bradley, who had a record going back to July 2009, was sent to detention for 32 months. Bleasdale, who was in breach of a suspended term of custody, received 28 months.

Passing sentence, Recorder Philip Curran told the duo: “It’s a crying shame really that you are in the dock, facing this charge, but the reality is both of you were spending your time on the street, drinking to excess, taking cannabis and, when the opportunity arose, involving yourself in quite nasty bullying and acts of thuggery.”

The judge said the pair had treated the victim in a disgraceful way and added: “It can’t be allowed to happen, not in the middle of Clitheroe, or anywhere else.”

Mr Martin Hackett (prosecuting) said Mr Bolton was robbed of his mobile phone and some tobacco. He was walking in the grounds of St Mary’s Church when he saw a group of youths.

Bradley put his arm around the victim’s neck and gripped tight, so he was struggling to breathe. Bleasdale then stood in front of Mr Bolton and punched him repeatedly in the face. The victim eventually managed to free himself and he was then mocked by the defendants.

He left, spoke to other people after the incident, went on the social networking website Facebook and saw a photo of Bleasdale. He recognised him as the man who had hit him. Mr Hackett said the defendants were arrested and questioned.

In mitigation for Bleasdale, Mr David Bentley said he struck within two months of being given the suspended jail term. He knew the alcohol and cannabis misuse he had indulged in daily had had a negative effect on the way he was able to conduct himself.

He was being treated for depression and suicidal and self-harming behaviour. The barrister added: “It was on the spur of the moment that he confronted the complainant.”

Mr Richard Bennett, in mitigation for Bradley, said he was the one who took the mobile phone. The defendant, who had hoped to join the RAF, would be going back to his mother when he was released. The barrister said: “She realises he needs all the help he can get.”

The defendant had been binge drinking, at times homeless and was developing into a “boy of the streets”, said Mr Bennett, adding that he was depressed and wayward.

“There is no doubt this has really made him stand up and take notice of the way that he appeared to be going before he entered into custody.”

Speaking after the court case, Det. Con. Will Biggar, of Clitheroe CID, said: “We are very pleased with the sentences given out by the court.

“We would like to thank the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times for launching an appeal for vital witnesses to come forward and with their help both defendants pleaded guilty.”

He added: “Robbery in Clitheroe is highly unusual and the streets will be safer following the sentencing of these two violent robbers.”