Harborough man jailed for bursting into a house and stabbing an old schoolmate – before waving an imitation gun at him

The victim feared he was going to be shot after the defendant stabbed him in the knees, hit him with the gun and then ordered him to get on his hands and knees

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 4:23 pm

A Market Harborough man has been jailed for over five years after he stabbed an old schoolmate – and waved an imitation gun at him.

Jonathan Hickingbottom, 27, stormed into his victim’s home in the town because he suspected he had sent a text message to his partner.

The dad-of-two burst in to the man’s flat in Riverside Court, Farndon Road, with two knives and the imitation handgun at about 9.30pm on April 14 last year, Leicester Crown Court heard.

Jonathan Hickingbottom

The victim’s girlfriend immediately fled in fear, the court was told.

Armed Hickingbottom ordered the man, who’s in his 20s, into his bedroom, said Richard Gibbs, prosecuting.

The knifeman accused him of messaging his girlfriend, which his victim denied.

Hickingbottom slashed at his victim before biting and injuring his face, said Mr Gibbs.

He tried to throttle him and repeatedly hit him on the head with the gun.

Hickingbottom stabbed his victim's knee and the serious wound started to bleed heavily, the judge heard.

The man struck his victim again on the head with the gun as he told him to get down on his hands and knees.

"The victim was extremely fearful at that stage but the defendant suddenly desisted and walked out," added Mr Gibbs.

Judge Keith Raynor told Hickingbottom: "That must have been an utterly terrifying moment, when a person is told by a man wielding a gun over them to get on their hands and knees.

“There's a legitimate expectation of being shot."

Judge Raynor branded the assault a "pre-planned, sustained and repeated" attack.

The victim, who hasn’t been named, needed five stitches in a knee wound.

He also required urgent hospital treatment for cuts on his face, ankle and arm as well as for a bite mark near his eye.

Hickingbottom, of Marmion Close, Farndon Fields, Market Harborough, admitted possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, possessing two knives and unlawful wounding.

He was also sentenced for another incident after admitting causing actual bodily harm, assaulting an emergency worker, possessing cannabis and the theft of £20.

Mr Gibbs said Hickingbottom attacked a man at a town centre cashpoint in Market Harborough on November 29, 2019.

The victim, who had earlier been drinking in the same pub as Hickingbottom, asked him if he was "OK".

Violent Hickingbottom suddenly blew his top as he used his belt to beat the man before chasing him.

He punched him to the ground and booted him twice in the face, inflicting cuts and bruises which needed medical treatment.

Hickingbottom pocketed a £20 note dropped by the victim, the court heard.

He then challenged a police officer to a fight as he shouted threats and resisted arrest.

An amount of cannabis was seized from Hickingbottom’s pocket when he was detained.

Judge Raynor said Hickingbottom, who has previous convictions for battery and making threats to kill, posed a serious threat to the public.

Talking about the attack last April, Shital Maher, defending, said it fell short of endangering life but she admitted " there was an intent to cause fear or distress".

She said Hickingbottom is now receiving mental health treatment in custody.

Hickingbottom was jailed for five-and-a-half years.

He was warned he’ll have to serve three quarters of the term before the Parole Board will consider if he is eligible to be freed.

His licence period was extended by an extra two years.

After the case Det Con Robin Bonell, the investigating officer, said: “The victim in the Farndon Road assault was very lucky to have not been more seriously injured as we believe the intent was to cause him more harm than what was inflicted.

“Hickingbottom went there knowing he had the use of an imitation firearm and knife, just shows the extent and level of violence he intended to use.”

He added: “I am very grateful for the support of a number of different teams across the force, assisting in the apprehension of the suspect and his arrest.

“I am pleased Hickingbottom has admitted to the offences and spared the victims the ordeal of reliving the events of last year in the court room.”