Arrested to get bed for night
A man deliberately got himself arrested just hours after being released from prison because he needed a bed for the night, a court heard yesterday.
Homeless Jonathan Sculthorpe racially abused a worker in a fast-food restaurant and ended up in a police cell because he had nowhere else to go, city magistrates were told.
Prosecutor Liz Dodds said Sculthorpe was released from Leicester Prison on February 28 after a 15-month sentence for grievous bodily harm.
She said that he ended up in McDonald's restaurant, in Eastgates, Leicester city centre, at 1.15am the next day – March 1.
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She said it was obvious he had been drinking and he became abusive after staff asked him to move from a cordoned-off area.
Miss Dodds said: "He was squaring up to a worker and putting his fists up in a boxing stance. He was being verbally abusive.
"Staff were genuinely fearful that they might be at risk of harm. They felt intimidated."
She said the police were called.
Miss Dodds said: "He allowed police to handcuff him, but then he tensed his muscles and started to spit out pieces of burger. Sculthorpe then turned to an officer and threatened him. He said: 'I will give you something to arrest me for'."
Sculthorpe, 32, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to racially-aggravated disorderly behaviour on March 1.
He also admitted using threatening behaviour towards a police officer on the same day.
He was given a 10-week jail sentence.
The court heard that he had 23 convictions for 43 offences, including many for violence and dishonesty.
Rebecca Plant, defending, said Sculthorpe had been very drunk and had committed the offences because he had no place to live.
She said a "resettlement team" had unsuccessfully tried to find him accommodation on his release from prison.
She said: "He was released from custody and he was sent on his way with nowhere to go and no support.
"My client was effectively left to his own devices.
"He knew he was homeless and wanted to get himself a bed for the night."
Miss Plant appealed to the magistrates not to jail Sculthorpe, but to give him the chance to become rehabilitated.
Probation officer Paul Yates also recommended that Sculthorpe should not be sent to prison.
He said: "Sculthorpe is somebody who has been in and out of custody for years. We would like to give him some period of stability where we can have him in an environment where we can keep an eye on him and work with him."
As he was led away in handcuffs, Sculthorpe shouted to the magistrates: "You just keep putting put me in prison. It's not getting any better.
"You need to start using your brain."