A 48-year-old serial offender has been jailed after stamping on the head of a man who confronted him about attacking a woman - who he later called 250 times to get her to change her statement.
John Sebastian Nicolle was yesterday sentenced to four-and-a-half years' imprisonment after appearing in the Royal Court to face charges of grave and criminal assault, common assault and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Summing up the facts of the case, Crown Advocate Richard Pedley said all three offences stemmed from the same incident one evening last year.
The Court heard that Nicolle and two men were in the woman's flat. Nicolle and the woman had an argument over a break-in that had taken place at her flat the day before, leading Nicolle to become abusive and start calling the woman names, before the fight turned physical.
Apparently reacting to the woman running up behind him, Nicolle said he hit her face, which in turn led her to collide with furniture. One witness called the Police saying he had "battered" her. The woman suffered a large bruise and swelling to her left eye, as well as a bruised knee, as a result.
Pictured: A witness to the assault told police Nicolle had "battered" the woman.
Another man, who was out of the flat when the incident happened, confronted Nicolle about what happened upon his return.
“He remembers an exchange of words before waking up in hospital with facial injuries later that night,” the Crown Advocate said.
Witnesses said Nicolle had punched the man, before stamping on his head “four or six times.” Part of the assault was filmed by one of the other men in the flat and shown in court.
The footage showed Nicolle stamping on the unresponsive victim at least twice, while the woman urged him to stop.
Pictured: The man Nicolle assaulted suffered a total of 21 injuries, including a broken cheekbone.
When police arrived, Nicolle initially said the other man had headbutted him but later admitted it wasn't true.
He added: “He told me he was f****ing gay and he was going to rape me…I went a bit too far maybe.”
Nicolle said that while the other man, whom he had never met before that night, had not physically attacked him, he had felt threatened.
The man Nicolle assaulted suffered a total of 21 injuries, including a broken cheekbone, a “grossly swollen eye”, which he couldn’t open, as well as small cut and grazes.
Following the incident, Nicolle was told not to contact the woman, but he called her from La Moye after putting her number down under a fake name.
Police uncovered 250 records of calls between Nicolle and the woman as well as several letters and calls delivered to the woman by recently released inmates.
“The call and letters show an attempt by the defendant to cause [the woman] to change her account and gives rise to the additional charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice,” the Court heard.
Enclosed with one of the letters, Nicolle had attached a Defence Case Statement stating “his version of events”. He later suggested the woman said she had felt pressured to say Nicolle had hit her by one of the other men present that night.
Nicolle apologised to Court for breaching the non-contact order in February 2020 but Crown Advocate Pedley said another letter made it clear he had continued trying to speak with the woman even after that.
The Court heard Nicolle had 81 offences on his record, the most recent being a grave and criminal assault and a common assault on another woman.
Advocate Allana Binnie, defending, told Court that Nicolle felt things had gone downhill after the three other men came to the woman's flat, taking drugs and drinking alcohol, and that he said he felt uneasy and threatened by the behaviour of the man he eventually assaulted.
The defence lawyer questioned the exact number of times Nicolle had stamped on the victim’s head, saying the footage only showed two instances.
She then went on to say that while Nicolle accepted the “high level” of illegal contact he had made with the woman, his intention was not to manipulate her evidence.
“He just wanted to talk to [the woman] as he really missed her,” Advocate Binnie said. “He needed to understand certain parts of the night better, he couldn’t quite remember.”
She referred to an expert report which stated Nicolle was “unusually sensitive” to threats and that his emotional response to perceived threat was not normal.
Pictured: The Deputy Bailiff, Robert MacRae, was sitting with Jurats Charles Blampied, Jane Ronge and Pam Pitman.
Returning the Court’s sentence, the Deputy Bailiff, Robert MacRae, who was sitting with Jurats Charles Blampied, Jane Ronge and Pam Pitman, described the assaults as “unprovoked”, highlighting the “savagery” of Nicolle stamping on another man’s head.
He said the Court rejected the idea that Nicolle had felt threatened or that the man had said anything to him, but, even if he had, “it wouldn’t be any mitigation."
“It’s only a matter of good fortune that his injuries were not much worse,” the Deputy Bailiff added.
He then noted how it was clear from Nicolle’s correspondence with the woman that he knew he was committing a “serious offence."
Noting that the latest female victim was the fifth woman Nicolle had subjected to violence, he added: “You’re a danger to women who consort with you.”
In the end, the Court decided to impose a sentence higher than what the Crown had asked for and handed Nicolle four-and-a-half years' imprisonment.
Speaking following the sentencing, Detective Inspector Christina Maclennan, head of the Serious Crime Unit, said: “This was a particularly violent outburst and crimes such as this should never be tolerated.
"We will do everything in our power to see offenders such as this face justice.”
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