Man calls shopper a ‘nonce’ and steals his beer

Michael Collins
-Credit: (Image: Merseyside Police)


A robber called a shopper a “nonce” and stole his beer after attacking him in Bootle Strand.

Michael Collins subjected his victim to a “quite shocking and totally unprovoked” assault inside the shopping centre, leaving him “badly shaken up”. He then flipped a table over during a disturbance at a medical centre.

Liverpool Crown Court heard yesterday afternoon, Wednesday, that Patrick Curran was standing by a bus stop on Stanley Road in Bootle with a friend referred to as “Dave”, a neighbour of the 58-year-old defendant’s, at around 1pm on June 22 last year when Collins approached them and said: “What are you talking to that nonce for? He’s a rapist.”

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Christopher Hopkins, prosecuting, described how the complainant then retreated into Strand Shopping Centre in fear. But CCTV footage captured Collins, formerly of Manley Road in Waterloo, subsequently accosting him once again inside.

Mr Curran was struck twice to the head with “forceful” punches, the second of which knocked him to the ground and caused him to let go of his shopping bag. His assailant then walked away with this bag - which contained tins of bitter, a jar of coffee and a newspaper - leaving him with “superficial” injuries to his knees.

The court also heard of another incident shortly before 3pm on March 1 this year, when Collins was said to have turned “aggressive and erratic” during a consultation with his GP. Police were called to the doctor’s surgery after he picked up a desk and tipped it over, causing “relatively minor” damage to office equipment including a computer and a phone.

His criminal record shows a total of 12 previous convictions for 14 offences, although he has had no involvement with the law since receiving a caution for drunk and disorderly behaviour in 2014. Eve Salter, defending, told the court: “The defendant has submitted that he was suffering with his mental health at the time of the offending.

“He tells me that he values his time in prison. He tells me that his reason for committing these offences was to get away to a place of safety, where he finds himself now.

“He has realised that his mental health was deteriorating at the time. Hopefully, he will be able to take advantage of opportunities and better himself before coming out.

“He tells me he is remorseful for his behaviour in the doctor’s surgery. He immediately apologised and he waited for the police to attend, his whole intention being to be arrested.”

Collins admitted robbery and criminal damage. Appearing via video link to HMP Altcourse, he was jailed for three years and handed a five-year restraining order.

Sentencing, Recorder Louis Browne KC said: “It is quite clear that this was a quite shocking offence, committed in broad daylight in a shopping centre where many members of the public were around. The attack was totally unprovoked, and he was badly shaken up.”

After learning his sentence, Collins replied: “Thank you, your honour. Thank you.”

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