A MAN has been found guilty of numerous offences after attacking a teenager with a hammer.
Adam Sargent had already spent seven years in prison for the public protection before the parole board deemed it was safe to release him.
But 14 months later the 30 year-old of Elm Road in Stratford carried out a terrifying attack on a young woman, Warwick Crown Court has heard.
Prosecutor Scott Coughtrie told the jury that the woman was making her way to work at around 9am on April 17 when she was approached by Sargent in the street outside his home.
Mr Coughtrie said: “He persuaded her to go to his home on the pretext that his partner wanted to ask her something about a job at the place where she worked. So she believed his partner would be there.
“The truth of the matter is that he wished to use her capture as a mechanism for showing his friends he was capable of retribution and punishment over money he had not been paid.”
Once inside Sargent kept up the pretence that his partner Sophie was there by shouting upstairs to ask her to come down.
“She began to stroke the cat, and as she stood up he grabbed her by the throat and put his hand over her mouth.
“He said her nan or her mum owed him money and that he needed to prove to his boys that he could do something about it.”
Sargent then tightly tied a cloth over her head and mouth and took a picture with her phone. When she begged him to let her go, he became angry and grabbed her by the throat.
He pushed her to the floor and hit her a number of times to the head with a hammer, which resulted in heavy bleeding.
Once he stopped, he made her go to the bathroom to clean herself up. He then handed her the key to the back door.
“She thought she could go, but as she put the key in the door he grabbed her again and held her against the wall by her throat so tight that she could not breathe.
“She tried to get away and they both fell to the floor, still with his hands round her throat.
“She was pulled to her feet and grabbed a kitchen knife to try to defend herself, but he managed to disarm her and threw her to the floor and held the point of the knife to her throat.”
His terrified victim offered to pay whatever money he claimed to be owed, and eventually she managed to convince him that she would not inform on him and that he could walk her to work to make sure she did not immediately raise the alarm.
Before leaving with her, Sargent put a knife into the waistband of his trousers, but as they got near to Tesco she suddenly made a break for it and ran to the store where she told her boss what had happened and the police were called.
Sargent returned to the house, and when officers got there they found he was hiding in the loft.
But instead of coming down when the police told him to do so, Sargent kicked out a number of roof tiles and climbed out onto the roof, where he remained for some time before being persuaded to come back inside and was arrested, added Mr Coughtrie.
The prosecutor said: “This young woman was completely innocent. She had done nothing to deserve being attacked with a hammer or having her life threatened with a knife or being subjected to strangulation to such an extent that she could not breathe.”
In court, Sargent denied luring the young woman into the house or attacking her with the hammer, and said he had taken a knife from her in the kitchen but had not threatened her with it.
He said he had been ‘in a bad place’ at the time, and had tried to hang himself from the loft hatch in the early hours of that morning.
His barrister Antonie Muller put to him: “If you had wanted to cave that girl’s head in with that hammer, was there anything stopping you?” Sargent answered: “No.”
Asked why he had climbed out onto the roof, he replied: “So I could probably jump off the roof, jumped to my death.”
Sargent claimed he had been suffering from ‘a blackout’ during the incident and could only recall ‘snippets’ of what happened.
But he conceded: “If it was just me and her in the house, I must have caused the injuries. I would like to know how they occurred. I don’t know, it’s confusing.”
Sargent pleaded not guilty to wounding the 18-year-old with intent to cause her grievous bodily harm, falsely imprisoning her and causing criminal damage.
But the jury unanimously found him guilty of all three charges and he was remanded in custody for pre-sentence and psychiatric reports to be prepared on him.
Recorder Edward Coke has asked for an assessment of dangerousness from a psychiatrist and the probation service.
He observed Sargent had already served a sentence of imprisonment for the public protection. It was an indefinite sentence imposed in 2008 for what a judge at that time described as ‘an unprovoked and senseless attack’ on a man who was walking home from a party in Coventry.
Although Sargent, then of Charles Eaton Road, Bedworth, was ordered to serve a minimum of 13 months before he could be considered for release, he ended up serving seven years before the Parole Board decided he could be freed in February last year.
Adjourning the case and remanding Sargent in custody, Recorder Coke added: “It’s important there’s a fresh assessment of how dangerous he may be. He’s going to get a substantial sentence, whatever happens.”