Hastings man launched 'appalling' attack with metal baton outside Sainsbury's superstore

The attack took place outside the Sainsbury's superstore in Hastings. Picture: Google Streetview
The attack took place outside the Sainsbury's superstore in Hastings. Picture: Google Streetview

A Hastings man attacked his girlfriend's former lover with a metal baton on Christmas Eve after spotting him at Sainsbury’s.

Fast food worker Benjamin Tillman encountered the man in a ‘chance meeting’ outside the supermarket and started shouting, a court heard.

He was sentenced at Hove Crown Court today

He was sentenced at Hove Crown Court today

Tillman, 29 of Old London Road, then returned to his car, pulled out a metal baton and swung it at the man twice, striking his hands and forehead.

The incident took place in the car park of Sainsbury’s in John Macadam Way in Hastings.

He pleaded guilty to assault by beating and possession of an offensive weapon at an earlier hearing and appeared at Hove Crown Court today for sentencing.

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'Not now, not here, it's Christmas'

Prosecutor Charlotte Morrish told the court: “The victim heard his girlfriend say ‘not now, not here, it’s Christmas’.

“When he then looked he saw it was this defendant and saw him swinging a baton in his hand.”

The victim put his hands up to protect his head and the baton struck his left hand and his head, the court heard.

Not content with one blow, Tillman swung again and struck the victim’s other hand.

“The victim was able to grab hold of the defendant to restrain him. The defendant then got back in his car and drove off.”

The incident was captured on Sainsbury’s CCTV.

Defendant claims that victim adopted 'fighting stance'

Defence barrister Anthony Waller said: “When he was interviewed he stated in effect that the victim had adopted a fighting stance so he went and got his metal hydraulic car boot [tool] out of the car.

“He says that in the last few years he has been very good at maintaining his self-control but difficulties arising between him and the victim have led to him effectively losing control of his temper.”

He noted that Tillman suffers with mental health issues and that there were ‘definite issues’ between Tillman and the victim prior to the incident.

'Appalling' attack in front of young children

Judge Christine Henson QC said: “The most appalling behaviour on Christmas Eve in Sainsbury’s, going back to your car, arming yourself with a weapon and assaulting a man in front of young children.”

However she noted that Tillman had had a ‘significant gap’ between this incident and his previous convictions.

“It seems to me that you at 29 years of age are at a real crossroads.”

Judge Henson elected not to send Tillman immediately to jail, giving him a nine-month sentence, suspended for two years.

He must complete 180 hours of unpaid work, attend up to 25 rehabilitation days and was made the subject of a restraining order.