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Nasty thug jailed after throwing card payment machine at shopkeeper’s face

Savage John Hayward left one man on life support after a brutal rampage through Aberdeen - blaming not taking medication that he failed to collect from his GP.

John Hayward unleashed extreme violence in Aberdeen city centre. Images: Dorset Police/DC Thomson
John Hayward unleashed extreme violence in Aberdeen city centre. Images: Dorset Police/DC Thomson

A dangerous brute has been jailed for a string of harrowing attacks on people in Aberdeen, even landing one man in hospital on life support.

John Hayward appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court, following four separate vicious assaults on members of the public over an afternoon in February this year.

The 32-year-old repeatedly punched one man’s face with such force that Aberdeen Royal Infirmary’s intensive care unit had to sedate him and help the patient breathe.

Hayward, who is originally from Dorset, also threw a card payment machine at a shopkeeper’s face after the man innocently said “goodbye” to him.

Then he went on to violently assault a couple in broad daylight in the city centre, leaving one of them unconscious.

John Hayward’s string of violent attacks started on Aberdeen’s Union Street

Fiscal depute Stephanie Cardow told the court that around 1.50pm on February 11 this year, Hayward walked into a Londis store on Union Street to buy a bottle of wine.

After he paid for it at the till, the shopkeeper noticed that Hayward was “rambling incoherently” to himself.

As the strange customer opened the door to leave, the shopkeeper said “goodbye” but Hayward came back into the shop and demanded he “repeat himself and apologise”.

Mrs Cardow explained: “Without warning, the accused picked up the portable card payment machine and threw it with force at the complainer, striking him on the bridge of the nose.

“The shopkeeper felt extreme pain in his nose and it began to bleed as the accused left the locus.”

One of the Dorset man’s attacks left another unconscious on the ground in an Aberdeen street

A few hours later, at 5.25pm on the same day, a man and a woman were walking down Harriet Street, Aberdeen, when they encountered Hayward.

He shoulder-barged the man and after the disgruntled pedestrian protested, Hayward – with no warning – twice-punched his face with each hand.

As the woman tried to intervene, Hayward took up a fighting stance before punching her face.

Then the vile fiend placed the man in a headlock and punched him again, causing the man to fall to the ground unconscious.

John Hayward. Image: Facebook

Around an hour later and only streets away, two members of the public saw Hayward attacking a fourth person, repeatedly punching his face on Aberdeen’s Blackfriars Street.

“The accused was on top of the complainer punching him repeatedly to the face and head,” the fiscal depute said, adding: “They challenged the accused, which caused him to get up and accost them.

“The accused then turned back to the complainer, who was still on the ground, and punched him twice to the head before walking away.”

Due to the victim’s injuries, they reported the ordeal to police – matching reports they had already received about the earlier attacks.

Among John Hayward’s victims was a man who suffered ‘life-changing’ injuries during the string of Aberdeen street attacks

When officers arrived at the scene, they saw Hayward’s victim had severe injuries to his face and was in a state of confusion.

Extreme swelling meant he could barely open his eyes and he was also unable to speak to the police because he’d been so badly hurt.

Officers soon traced Hayward, who was sitting on a wall on Loch Street.

As he was arrested, he insisted: “The guy punched me, so I gave him some”.

The man whom Hayward assaulted on Blackfriars Street was rushed to ARI.

He was placed under sedation and intubated before receiving a CT scan that soon confirmed he had suffered fractures to his nasal bone and sinus wall.

Hayward’s victim was under sedation for two days due to his horrible injuries, which were described by doctors as “life-changing”.

In the dock, Hayward pled guilty to four charges of assault.

Dorset man John Hayward said he had no excuses for his violent outburst in Aberdeen, then made excuses

Defending himself in court after choosing not to be represented by a solicitor, an emotionless Hayward said he was “really sorry” for attacking the couple.

But the violent offender told the court that the fourth man had “punched him first”.

He added: “But I do regret what I done and I shouldn’t have punched him so many times.

“I’m sorry to the shopkeeper. I was drunk and abusive. I don’t have any excuses.”

However, the not-very-remorseful Hayward then made an excuse, blaming his bad behaviour on being “off his medication” at the time.

Sentencing Hayward, Sheriff Andrew Miller reminded Hayward that a number of his victims were left with permanent scarring as a result of his attacks.

Aberdeen court hears John Hayward’s eventual prison release could be a ‘danger’ to the public

The sheriff added that the fourth man had required “significant medical treatment”.

He also pointed out that Hayward had a substantial record of previous convictions, many for violence.

“You said you had had a lot to drink, which is not in any way an excuse, as you chose to take alcohol,” Sheriff Miller commented.

“You also said you had not taken your medication, but that’s because you did not go to the doctor’s surgery to get it.”

Hayward, whose address was given as HMP Grampian in Peterhead, was locked up for three years and four months, backdated to February 13 this year.

A 12-month supervised release order was also imposed on Hayward’s release from prison because of the incredible “danger” he poses to the public.

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