A serial shoplifter broke a Tesco worker's jaw who tried to stop him stealing bottles of wine.

Kevin Haywood, 37, has a staggeringly bad criminal record, which features nearly 250 previous offences.

He claimed he was suffering from alcohol withdrawal when he struck at a Tesco Express in Liverpool city centre.

But the crook, of Prescot Road, Old Swan, ended up hospitalising Louis Robertson in his desperation for booze.

And today at Liverpool Crown Court he impatiently moaned at a judge: "Oh my God, will you just sentence me?"

Michael Whitty, prosecuting, said Haywood entered the shop in Skelhorne Street, opposite Liverpool Lime Street Station, at around 7.45am, on September 8 last year.

He said Haywood assaulted his victim, "the member of staff having done little more than attempt to stop the defendant from stealing bottles of wine".

Mr Robertson watched Haywood select a bottle of wine from a shelf, then walk towards the exit without paying.

It later emerged the crook had taken two bottles and another man - thought to be an associate of Haywood - tried to talk to Mr Robertson, but he ignored the distraction.

Mr Robertson told Haywood to hand back the bottle, then grabbed hold of the wine in the entrance area and tried to move back towards the door.

Mr Whitty said: "As they grappled over the bottles, the defendant struck Mr Robertson with a single blow to the side of his face.

"It was described as a left hook to the side of the jaw."

Haywood ran off with the other man and Mr Robertson remained at work, until he went to hospital due to increasing pain.

Haywood was identified from CCTV footage, but made no reply when arrested on November 29 and gave a no comment interview to police.

He denied theft and inflicting grievous bodily harm, but pleaded guilty ahead of a trial listed next month.

Mr Whitty said the fracture caused Mr Robertson's upper and lower jaw not to meet properly, so he underwent surgery on September 18.

His fracture was splinted and brackets were attached to both parts of his jaw and teeth, secured in place with wires.

Mr Robertson told the court he found it difficult to eat and was on a liquid diet for three weeks.

Mr Whitty said: "The whole experience had a significant negative impact on his day-to-day life. His partner had recently had a baby.

"He was off work for three weeks, leading him to sustain some financial loss.

Enter your postcode below to find local businesses to support

"The wires were removed and replaced by bands, but even when the victim personal statement was prepared in February, there was still some ongoing pain, some lasting fallout."

Referring to Haywood's criminal record, Mr Whitty said: "It couldn't be a great deal worse."

Judge Thomas Teague, QC, observed Haywood had nearly 250 previous offences, including "at least 10 occasions between 2011 and 2020 when he has assaulted emergency workers, or there are assaults on the same occasions as thefts, suggesting incidents like this".

Mr Whitty said later on the same day as the Tesco attack, Haywood carried out two assaults on emergency workers and a "racially aggravated offence".

Liverpool's courts are some of the busiest in the UK, with a huge variety of cases being heard each week.

To get a behind the scenes look at how they work and the moments that don't make our stories, subscribe to our free weekly Echo Court Files newsletter, written by court reporters Neil Docking and Lauren Wise.

How do I sign up?

It's free, easy and takes no time at all.

  1. First just click on this link to our newsletter sign-up centre.
  2. Once you're there, put your email address where it says at the top, then click on the Echo Court Files button. There are other newsletters available too if you want them as well.
  3. When you've made your choice, press the Save Changes button at the bottom.

He said the thief was jailed for 16 weeks for those offences on November 19.

William Beardmore, defending, said his client had "long term addiction issues" with Class A drugs and alcohol, linked to "the vast majority" of his crimes.

He said: "He is addicted to or has been addicted to both heroin and cocaine, and has started to use alcohol to manage the symptoms of withdrawal, and also in turn become addicted to alcohol."

Mr Beardmore said Haywood was suffering from alcohol withdrawal symptoms that morning, but didn't have any money so intended to steal the wine.

The lawyer said the CCTV showed initially the thief didn't react badly to being challenged.

If you are struggling with addiction issues, there are a number of organisations that can help.

The Liverpool Central Addaction Recovery Centre is based in The Foundry in Henry Street, you can call the charity on 0151 706 7888.

You can also contact the Community Recovery Liverpool centre on 0151 703 0679.

Sharp is another addiction support service based in Rodney Street, which can be contacted on 0151 703 0679.

However, he said: "After the wine is taken from him and he's pushed from the store, he turned round and delivered a single blow.

"My instructions are that offence arises out of frustration, as opposed to malice or anything else."

Mr Beardmore said Haywood reacted to realising he wouldn't get "his fix of alcohol" and now deeply regretted the injury he caused and was "very sorry".

Can you help us keep Merseyside covered?

Judge Teague said the CCTV showed the Tesco store was "fairly busy" given the time of day.

He told Haywood: "You stole a couple of bottles of wine and when the shop assistant tried to stop you from leaving the store with them, you punched him very hard with a left hook, resulting in you breaking his jaw."

The judge said Haywood caused an "extremely painful" injury and the victim had a "very unpleasant period of recovery".

Stories from Liverpool Crown Court

He said: "You are clearly a person with addiction problems, which no doubt helps to explain why, despite still being only 37, you have more than 130 court appearances for more than 240 crimes.

"They are overwhelmingly offences of dishonesty, with some vehicle crime, but also some convictions for drugs and violence."

Judge Teague said it was a "horrible injury" and started discussing sentencing guidelines regarding Haywood's culpability and the harm he caused.

Haywood, on a video link from HMP Altcourse, moaned: "Oh my God, will you just sentence me?"

Judge Teague warned that the link would be silenced if he continued to interrupt, before jailing Haywood for 16 months and banning him from the shop for three years.

Haywood stood up and said: "Finally! F***ing hell lad."