Little Venice canal attack: Homeless man jailed for hitting council worker with brick

A homeless man pushed a council worker into the Little Venice canal and hit him on the head with a brick after the worker tried to clear away his makeshift hovel.

Roy Tomlinson, 46, attacked maintenance worker Jan Wegrzinski after he entered a patch of wasteland where Tomlinson had been living for four years.

Tomlinson was sentenced to three years in prison on Monday after pleading guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Mr Wegrzinski and his Westminster Council colleague had been sent to the canal to clean up rubbish from the towpath, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Jessica Holmes said Mr Wegrzinski discovered a hole in a wall covered by sheets of plywood when he was cleaning up the Grand Union Canal towpath on May 11 last year.

He attempted to enter but was greeted by Tomlinson brandishing a large metal pole with a nut bolt on one end shouting “What the f*** are you doing? This is my property, f*** off!”, the prosecutor said.

The barrister said Mr Wegrzinski managed to kick the metal pole out of Tomlinson’s hands, but he then grabbed a padlock and chain and came at him again.

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The council worker called the police but Tomlinson pushed him into the canal.

“As he was in the canal Mr Tomlinson took a brick and threw it, hitting him on the head and causing him to go under the water again,” said Ms Holmes.

“Mr Wegrzinski was able to haul himself out and there was a further altercation before Mr Tomlinson went back behind the fence.”

Mr Wegrzinski needed stitches to a four-centimetre wound to his head and had to have a tetanus injection.

Judge Stephen Robbins said: “This was a terrifying and traumatic incident for the victim, with you forcing him into the canal and then hitting him on the head with a brick.

“It would be terrifying enough just to be pushed into a canal, but the use of the brick of course makes it worse.”

Janine Shaff, defending, said Tomlinson had lived on the patch of wasteland for four years and viewed it as his home.

She said he had been collecting scrap metal in the hope of being able to buy a van to start a business as a rag and bone man.