Criminals sent to prison from Bristol courts in April

Every week, Bristol Live reports from the city’s courts.

This reporting forms an important part of the UK’s open justice system, that justice can be seen to be done.

Some of the key benefits of open justice include ensuring public confidence and respect in democracy and the administration of justice, as well as deterring people from committing crimes and thereby the details of those crimes becoming public knowledge.

Here are the criminals we reported on who were jailed at Bristol Crown Court in April.

You can read more about why we publish defendants’ names and addresses here.

Aurel Sula, three years

Aurel Sula

A driving error cost a man three years’ jail.

Aurel Sula was driving the wrong way down a road in Bristol when police pulled him over.

When they approached the could smell cannabis from his vehicle and it transpired he had that drug as well as 17 wraps of cocaine.

And it turned out he was already under investigation for dealing drugs in a Brighton night club.

Sula, 20, from Croft Road in Bournemouth, pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply on April 11, 2019 and on June 6 last year.

Judge Euan Ambrose jailed him for three years.

Read the full story here

Denneshae Martin, four years

Denneshae Martin

A man who said someone must have left Class A drugs in his car was jailed.

Denneshae Martin denied all knowledge of the crack cocaine and heroin found in his vehicle in December 2018.

Police who arrested him and released him under investigation found him with more drugs shortly after.

Martin, 23, of Ingleside Road in Bristol, denied wrongdoing.

But a jury convicted him of four charges of possessing a Class A drug with intent to supply and a fifth of possessing cannabis.

Judge Euan Ambrose jailed him for four years.

He told Martin: “You were an expendable feature of a drug supply line.”

Read the full story here

Ashley Billing, eight months

Ashley Billing

A pickled paver who drove into Bristol with just three tyres on his tipper van was jailed.

Ashley Billing was so sozzled he couldn’t recall events after 4pm on January 12, Bristol Crown Court heard.

At 6pm drivers looked on in horror as, minus a tyre and with his wheel sparking on the road, he left the A4174 and turned into oncoming traffic before heading into the city.

When police approached him in a service station he was sat in the van with his eyes glazed and said he had lost his keys.

Billing, 35, of Normandy Drive in Yate, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol – his third conviction for drink driving.

Judge Julian Lambert jailed him for eight months.

He told Billing: “You are a serial drink driver, an offence which is irresponsible, selfish and highly dangerous.

“This was a blatant and extreme offence of dangerous driving.”

Read the full story here

Peter Male, 12 months

A treasurer who swindled almost £250,000 in VAT refunds to get his teeth fixed was jailed.

Peter Male acted for Westonzoyland Sports Pavilion Project, Bristol Crown Court heard.

But the court was told he submitted VAT refunds on the basis of fake renovation work, and directed some £247,760 to his personal bank accounts.

Male, 63, of Grays Avenue in Westonzoyland, Bridgwater, pleaded guilty to six charges of being knowingly concerned with the evasion of VAT between June 2013 and October 2019.

Judge Julian Lambert jailed him for 12 months.

He told Male: “The fraud was hardly sophisticated.

Read the full story here

Alistair Woods, six months

Alistair Woods

Problem after problem beset Alistair Woods.

And now, after being convicted of drink driving for a fourth time, he’s in prison.

Police spotted Woods driving a car at what appeared to be excessive speed at 3am on October 20 last year.

After failing to stop he led them on a 3.4 mile pursuit before halting – and then recklessly assaulted a police officer.

Breath tests later revealed he was at least twice the alcohol limit for driving.

Woods, 36, of Manor Road in Bishopston, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving with excess alcohol and assaulting an emergency worker.

Judge Julian Lambert jailed him for six months.

He told the father-of-two: “You are a serial drink driver.

Read the full story here

Jermaine Collins, four-and-a-half years

Jermaine Collins

A vicious circle of offending landed a man with a jail term.

Jermaine Collins was caught dealing drugs at the Latitude Festival in Suffolk.

Bristol Crown Court heard, having been released by police and owing a debt to dealers higher up the chain, he cropped up in Bristol with drugs and was arrested again.

Collins, 28, of Abberton in Essex, pleaded guilty to possessing Class A and B drugs with intent to supply as well as dangerous driving while disqualified and without insurance.

Judge Michael Longman jailed him for four-and-a-half years.

He banned him from driving for five years, three months.

Read the full story here

Chaz Bevan, 12 months

Chaz Bevan

A third offence of dangerous driving cost a Knowle man prison time.

Chaz Bevan drove off from police at almost five times the speed limit, Bristol Crown Court heard.

When he stopped he banged a door into a policeman and had to be Tasered.

Bevan, 23, of Bradbury Road, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving while disqualified and without insurance and assaulting an emergency worker.

Judge Martin Picton was told Bevan was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and had an array of difficulties.

But the judge told him: “You had no business buying a car. You had no business driving.”

Read the full story here

William Deans, 22 months

A drunken man who pummelled a disabled pensioner and left his home “like a murder scene” was jailed.

William Deans straddled vulnerable Edward Andrew, 69, repeatedly punched him and held a knife to his throat, Bristol Crown Court heard.

Relatives found his flat in Bristol plastered in blood.

Deans, 52, of Wellington Place in Frenchay, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm in November 2019.

Judge Julian Lambert jailed him for 22 months.

He told Deans: “Of course, your underdoing is drink.

“This was a brutal beating of an old man who had multiple disabilities.

“It was a repeated beating of an older, less powerful man and a knife was held to his throat as if to slit it.

“I assess you to be dangerous.”

The judge imposed an indefinite restraining order banning Deans from all contact with Mr Andrew.

Read the full story here

Tyron Griffiths, two years

Tyron Griffiths

A drink driver who lost control of his car, mowed down two pedestrians and drove off was jailed.

Tyron Griffiths was calculated to be up to two-and-a-half the drink drive limit when he mounted the kerb as he exited a roundabout and ploughed into Bernard and Joy Dodd.

The Dodds, who were returning to their car after a coach trip to a London show, suffered catastrophic multiple injuries.

And the full horror of the impact was witnesses by their son David, who had crossed the road seconds before.

Griffiths, 32, of Talbot Close, Highbridge, pleaded guilty to two charges of causing serious injury by dangerous driving on December 13, 2019.

Judge Michael Longman jailed him for two years.

He told Griffiths: “The back calculation put you at two-and-a-half times the legal limit.

“The only possible explanation is your ability to drive safely was significantly impaired.

Read the full story here

Nathan Dixon, 45 months

Nathan Dixon

A St Pauls resident who stabbed his former partner’s new man was jailed.

Nathan Dixon caused two serious wounds to Dale Thomas in an incident in the community on September 16 last year.

Bristol Crown Court heard Mr Thomas, also in his 30s, had his life flash before his eyes and feared he was going to die.

Dixon, 31, of Denbigh Street, denied wrongdoing but a jury convicted him of unlawful wounding and possessing an offensive weapon in a public place.

Judge William Hart jailed him for 45 months.

He recognised there was a background to the case in which the men were involved in an affray and Mr Thomas made threats to Dixon’s life.

But the judge told Dixon on the day of the stabbing he chose to arm himself with a blade and it was Dixon who was the aggressor.

Read the full story here

Mark Foley, two years and three months

A rogue trader was jailed for allowing thousands of tonnes of waste – including hazardous material – to be illegally deposited at a site in Somerset.

Mark Foley, of Cardiff, was jailed for two years and three months for illegally disposing of 100,000 tons of waste at Stowey Quarry, a former limestone quarry near Chew Valley reservoir.

The offence happened within the first nine months of 2016, sparking an intensive investigation by the Environment Agency into the management of the site.

The illegal operation, which accepted waste from around England, was described at Bristol Crown Court as one of the most serious risks of harm in the country during the past 30 years.

Foley was also jailed for a further 18 weeks, to be served concurrently, for supplying false information to the Environment Agency.

Foley’s firm, M E Foley (Contractors) Ltd, which ran the site under an environmental permit, failed to provide the court with any company accounts and was fined £72,000.

Read the full story here

Ali Abdirahman, two years and three months

An Easton man caught pushing Class A drugs was jailed.

Ali Abdirahman turned to drink and drugs after a family member was attacked, Bristol Crown Court.

Police who stopped a car he was a passenger in found him with wraps of heroin and crack cocaine.

Analysis of his mobile phone showed evidence of drug dealing.

Abdirahman, 23, of Heron Road, pleaded guilty to two charges of supplying and two charges of offering to supply heroin and cocaine.

The recorder Mr Roger Harris jailed him for two years and three months.

Read the full story here

Kian Harris, 18 months

Kian Harris

A Brentry teenager shot his mother’s boyfriend in a heated row.

Kian Harris grabbed an air rifle and shot Mark Woodman in the face, Bristol Crown Court heard.

And when police searched Harris’ home they found cannabis products, a stun gun and two printers intended for forging ID documents.

It transpired almost £100,000 had been credited to his bank account in six months.

Harris, 19, of Chakeshill Drive, pleaded guilty to four charges of possessing a Class B drug with intent to supply.

He also admitted wounding, possessing cannabis oil, possessing a stun gun and possessing an item for use in forgery, all offences relating to July 2019.

Judge Euan Ambrose sentenced him to 18 months’ youth custody.

He told Harris: “Widespread and serious offending can only be properly marked by a period of immediate detention.”

Read the full story here

Musa Jama, 27 months

Having been cleared of murder Musa Jama was jailed simply for having a knife.

But, having been released from a 21-month term in January 2019, by May 2019 he was dealing drugs in Bristol.

And after he was let go under investigation by police, in October 2019 he thumped a woman and gave her a black eye.

Jama, 25, of Clavell Road in Henbury, pleaded guilty to possessing heroin with intent to supply and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Judge Euan Ambrose jailed him for 27 months.

He told Jama: “These offences are so serious only a custodial sentence can be justified.”

Read the full story here.

Rudi Batten, six years

Rudi Batten was jailed for six years
(Image: Avon & Somerset Police)

An armed robber raided a McDonald’s before demanding chicken nuggets – but fled with a sausage McMuffin as it was only serving the breakfast menu.

Rudi Batten, 22, had already a raided a takeaway the night before, fleeing with some fried chicken.

The next day he went to a McDonald’s and took £50 in notes from a till before holding an imitation firearm to the head of the store manager and leading him to the safe.

Batten then asked for some nuggets but had to settle for a double sausage McMuffin after being told the restaurant was only serving from its breakfast menu at that time.

Batten was jailed for six years at Bristol Crown Court for the raid.

Read the full story here.

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