A FORMER soldier diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder has been jailed for six months after he assaulted his mum's boyfriend and drove off in his victim's van.
Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday that former squaddie John Douglas, 26, had repeatedly failed to comply with previous community sentences for a variety of offences and Judge Peter Benson rejected a plan to let him attend a centre run by a religious group in South Wales.
Barrister Giles Bridge, for Douglas, said the organisation would provide a structured environment for his client and assist his rehabilitation, but Judge Benson said the defendant had been given chance after chance and immediate custody was now inevitable.
The court heard how Douglas, of Luck Lane, Huddersfield, was involved in a scuffle with his mum’s partner Stuart Hodgson after the defendant had earlier used his van without permission that night.
Prosecutor Niall Carlin said Douglas pushed Mr Hodgson out of the front door causing him to fall down some steps.
While the complainant was on the ground Douglas was said to have punched him in the face and kicked him in the body.
After taking the van keys back off Mr Hodgson, Douglas drove away in the vehicle.
Mr Hodgson went to hospital in February after suffering a twisted ankle as well as a cut to his face and various bruises.
Douglas, who was already subject to a 16-month driving ban, was arrested and admitted taking the vehicle without permission.
At a previous court hearing Douglas admitted offences of assault, taking without consent, theft, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.
Mr Bridge conceded that his client had been given a number of chances in the past, particularly community sentences, and that they had failed.
He suggested that Judge Benson could defer sentence on Douglas and see if he made progress at the Team Challenge centre.
But Judge Benson noted that the mitigation about Douglas’ post traumatic stress disorder had no doubt been taken into account in previous community orders.
“'Previous interventions haven’t succeeded,” said Mr Bridge.
“'What is proposed is a very structured intervention which has a very much greater chance of success.
“'If it does not succeed he will come back and he would be under no illusions that a custodial sentence would follow.”
But Judge Benson told Douglas he had been before the courts on a number of occasions since 2005.
“I accept that in your case there has been a diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder, but nonetheless it seems to me that mitigating factor must have been taken into account on numerous occasions when you have appeared in court over the last six years,” the judge told Douglas.
“You have failed repeatedly to comply with orders of the court in relation to both driving penalties and more significantly for this case, community orders and you have repeatedly been breached.”
Douglas was jailed for four months on the assault charge with an additional two months in prison for driving while disqualified.
He was also banned from driving for two years.