A LEEDS man who earned sympathy and cash donations from the public after suffering horrific injuries in a brutal attempted murder bid has avoided immediate jail after he stole a disabled man's wallet in Headingley.
Heroin and crack cocaine addict Dean Ward stole the multiple sclerosis sufferer's wallet from his pocket after spotting him walking with the aid of crutches near Sainsbury's in Headingley at around 2pm on June 18 this year, Leeds Crown Court heard.
Prosecutor, Robert Yates, said his victim, who lost £83 in cash and his bank card, was "shook up and scared" and was so distressed that police had to call an an ambulance for him.
Ward, 41, was homeless and sleeping rough when he was repeatedly stabbed to his head and body in an unprovoked attack outside the Arndale Centre in Headingley on August 26 2017.
He was left with permanent nerve damage to his left arm and part of his nose was cut off in the attack.
An online crowdfunding campaign set up to help Ward after he was attacked touched the hearts of people across the city and raised more than £2,000 within days of being launched.
The court heard Street Angels Leeds later helped Ward find a place to live in Leeds and he is no longer homeless.
The court was told Ward was identified from CCTV footage after the wallet theft in June this year.
Mr Yates said police stopped Walsh in Headingley on September 27 and found three wraps of cocaine on him.
Walsh, of Queenswood Heights, Queenswood Gardens, Headingley, admitted theft and possessing a Class A drug.
He also admitted committing both offences whilst subject of suspended sentence order imposed at Leeds Crown Court in January 2017 for offences of affray and obstructing a police constable.
That sentence was a three month prison term, suspended for two years.
The court heard Ward has 20 previous convictions for 35 offences, including 15 thefts.
A spokesman for West Yorkshire Probation told the court Ward has been a heroin and crack cocaine addict for 15 years and now has a chance to get help with his addictions.
Mitigating, Michael Smith said: "The fact that someone tried to kill this defendant while he was cocooned in his sleeping bag and defenceless has preyed on his mind."
Recorder Paul Kirtley handed Ward a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two-years with a a nine-month drug rehabilitation programme and a 15-day rehabilitation activity requirement.
Recorder Kirtley told him: "Mr Ward, there is a huge number of people that have got high hopes for you, please prove them right.."
In December 2017 a Leeds Crown Court judge handed Ramounas Zykovas a 16-year extended sentence over the brutal early-hours attack on Ward outside the Arndale Centre in Headingley.
Zykovas, then aged 22, had drunk 12 litres of cider before the attack on August 26 2017
The Lithuanian national was due to return to his home country the next day after checks on his immigration status revealed he was not entitled to remain in the UK.
Leeds Crown Court was shown CCTV footage of Zykovas approaching Mr Ward before inflicting the injuries as he slept outside a Sainsbury’s store.
Zykovas left a kitchen knife at the scene and later contacted police to tell them he had stabbed someone. Mr Ward suffered punctured lungs, injuries to his spine, chest and had part of his nose cut off.
Ward described the attack in a victim statement read to the court on his behalf.
He said: “I was fast asleep when he stabbed me. I really thought I was going to die.
“I have never known pain like it.”
Zykovas pleaded guilty to attempted murder.
James Keeley, mitigating, said Zykovas moved from his home country to Manchester in 2011.
He said: “He was treated as a modern day slave, delivering charity bags from door to door for no pay. He received one meal per day. If he did not work he would be beaten with a stick.” Mr Keeley added that his client had suffered from mental health problems and drank heavily as a result of his experiences
.In December 2017 Zykovas was sentenced to a 12-year custodial term followed by a further four year period on licence.