'Extremely violent' Ripon man jailed after terrifying rampage

Craig Harpin.
Craig Harpin.

A motorist got the shock of his life when a man wearing a balaclava walked up to his car in the pitch black and smashed his front and back windows.

The terrifying incident occurred in a car park near The Arcade shopping precinct in Ripon, where 28-year-old Craig Harpin, armed with an “implement”, came looming out of the dark, heading straight for the victim’s Skoda, York Crown Court heard.

“The defendant approached wearing a balaclava, smashing both the windscreen and rear window, but also hitting through (the) open driver’s window when (the victim) was trying to drive off at slow speed,” said prosecutor Rob Galley.

An “implement” was then thrown through the window, hitting the victim on the side of the head.

Mr Galley said “fortunately” the victim ducked, taking the sting out of the blow and he suffered only reddening to the face.

The victim - who appears to have been deliberately targeted because he had been seeing Harpin’s ex-partner - made his escape and Harpin was later tracked down and arrested.

The court heard that in the hours leading up to the attack, which occurred at about 9.15pm on February 21, Harpin had told his ex-partner that he was “going to get (the named victim) tonight”.

She told him to “grow up” but Harpin said he knew where he could find the victim, adding: “I’m sorted for when I get sent down.”

He was hauled in for questioning on March 22 but refused to answer police questions. However, he later admitted one count of common assault and one of criminal damage when he appeared at Harrogate Magistrates’ Court in April.

The offences were in breach of a 12-month suspended prison sentence imposed by the Crown Court in 2017, when Harpin pleaded guilty to affray, possessing an offensive weapon and sending a malicious communication - “in effect intimidating a witness” - in relation to a separate violent incident outside a pub in which he “waved a wooden item around” during a punch-up with another man. A young woman was “caught in the crossfire” and struck by the “item” brandished by Harpin, causing her injury.

Harpin, of Ripon, appeared for sentence for the new offences on Friday knowing that the breach put him in severe jeopardy as he already had a litany of previous convictions to his name, for offences including theft, arson, battery, damaging property and public disorder.

Defence barrister Ryan Donoghue said there was a “history of confrontations” between Harpin and the victim ever since the defendant accused him of seeing his then girlfriend.

Judge Simon Hickey branded unemployed Harpin an “extremely-violent young man and prone to using violence”.

He said Harpin’s 18 previous convictions for 32 offences was a “significant record” and he had blown previous chances given to him by the courts by breaching orders, which meant that on this occasion there was “no alternative but to impose an immediate custodial sentence”.

Jailing Harpin for 12 months, the judge told him he had deliberately targeted the victim, who must have felt “significant fear."