A thief was given a suspended sentence after a court heard his family had suffered the trauma of his brother dying while in police custody.
Leeds Crown Court heard that Qassim Hall, of Newsome, had made a real effort to go straight and was doing well and nearing the end of a previous suspended sentence when the death happened last September.
Laura McBride, representing Hall, said that led to a turbulent period in his life. As a result of his brother’s death his mother had suffered a nervous breakdown.
She would not leave home and as she lived alone Hall became responsible for shopping and taking care of her. He also had his own mental health issues and was on medication prescribed by his GP.
Shawn Morales, prosecuting, told the court it was around 8.30am on January 3 this year that Hall and a woman were seen in Morrisons at Waterloo putting grocery items worth £259.56 in a trolley.
After they left without paying they were stopped outside and challenged to return but Hall refused and continued towards the car park.
The police were contacted and when they searched the area found Hall and the woman. Initially Hall gave false details to the officers and was aggressive. He tried to head-butt a female constable to break free and then kicked her on the thigh, causing some pain and discomfort.
The court heard his accomplice admitted theft and was fined by magistrates.
Miss McBride said the grocery theft occurred after Hall had his benefits stopped for a time and was struggling to make ends meet over Christmas. His girlfriend was also now pregnant.
Judge Neil Clark told Hall he had a bad record and whatever the background when the officer came to investigate the theft there was “no excuse for attacking her, she had done nothing to you.
“Whatever went on in September I cannot comment on but whatever happened, whatever the rights and wrongs of it, it undoubtedly has had a huge effect on your family and I understand that.”
He sentenced him to four months in prison suspended for 12 months with 60 hours unpaid work and 20 rehabilitation activity days.