Attacking a vulnerable man while living in a ‘melting pot’ led to a prison sentence for a Milford Haven man.

Ryan John Rowlands, of Chestnut Way, Mount Estate, appeared before Haverfordwest magistrates on Monday, August 3, via video link from Swansea prison.

He pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm, assaulting an emergency worker and using threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

Rowlands, 25, also admitted breaching a suspended sentence order.

Stacey Holmes, prosecuting, said a member of staff at a Johnston filling station had to activate a panic button because Rowlands was behaving aggressively on June 5.

He initially apologised, before saying: “I will smash your face in” and blocking the exit.

The court heard Rowlands was living in a Johnston hostel on July 26 when he approached another guest and said: “I really want to hit you.”

He punched the man in the face twice, then lifted a chair above his head and threw it at him, making contact with his arm.

The victim stated he became unconscious during the assault, and sustained cuts and bruises.

Rowlands immediately resisted arrest when police arrived and struggled as they attempted to handcuff him, causing one of the officers to receive cuts.

In a statement read to the bench, the injured officer said: “It shows the tendency to violence that Mr Rowlands has.”

The officer added that the victim was lucky his injuries were not far worse.

“He must have been terrified by what happened. It mortifies me that Mr Rowlands can attack someone with such a level of violence.”

Mike Kelleher, defending, said the incident at the service station had been due to a ‘misunderstanding’ which led to an argument between Rowlands and the victim.

“He accepts his behaviour was not appropriate and may have come across as looking violent. He assures me he intended no violence.”

The bench heard Rowlands had no recollection of assaulting the hostel resident, and his drink problem had been exacerbated by living in an environment which had become a ‘melting pot’ during the Covid-19 difficulties.

Mr Kelleher added handcuffs caused Rowlands pain as he had undergone operations on his wrists.

“He pulled away from the officer, who then uses pava spray on Mr Rowlands. They fall to the ground and the officer was injured.

“He is remorseful for what occurred.”

Magistrates sentenced Rowlands to a total of 42 weeks in prison and ordered him to pay £413 in compensation, costs and a surcharge.

The chairman of the bench said: “The ABH was a sustained attack on a vulnerable victim. It was a repeated assault and at one stage you used a piece of furniture to attack him with.”