Killer turned drug dealer avoids jail

Paul Anthony Hickman , 29, of Bridlington
Paul Anthony Hickman , 29, of Bridlington

A violent killer became a drug dealer, making a string of calls to a friend after buying a bulk load of cannabis to sell to eight people in Bridlington, a court heard.

Paul Hickman, 29, was caught red-handed with 59 grams of high-strength skunk cannabis and a mobile phone with the message: “Easy Mate – I have some nice smoke if you want it.”

Hickman was jailed for three-and-a-half years in 2007 for killing Melvin Baldwin, 67, in Shipley, near Bradford, in 2006 after a violent robbery in his home. Then known as Paul Crummack, he changed his name to Paul Hickman and moved to Bridlington in an effort to live down his past.

Hickman, now of Windsor Crescent, Bridlington, appeared at Hull Crown Court on Monday for sentencing after pleading guilty to eight charges to being concerned in the offer to supply a controlled drug of class B.

His barrister said his new employer knew all about him and he still had a job.

Crown barrister Charlotte Baines said Hickman’s former home in Swanland Avenue, Bridlington, was raided by police on December 30, 2014, and a large quantity of cannabis found in the flat that he shared with his girlfriend and a child.

The search gleaned self-sealing bags, a grinder, scales, tape and other drug paraphernalia.

A small amount of cannabis was found in his car, along with a similar self-sealing bag.

She said his mobile phone was analysed, showing he was offering cannabis to a man called Aidy from August to December 2014. Hickman told police he was a heavy cannabis user and had bought the drug from a friend in Keighley and denied being a dealer.

The court heard Hickman had previous convictions in 2007 in Bradford for robbery and manslaughter when he lived in Keighley.

Mr Baldwin suffered a fatal head injury after Crummack punched him once in the face. He died eight days later in hospital.

In September 2012 he was given a 26-week suspended prison sentence for barging into his ex-girlfriend’s home and pinning her to a wall, before punching the wall three or four times.

Mrs Baines said for the latest drug offences Hickman could be jailed for up to three years.

Defence barrister Paul Norton said Hickman worked as a retailer for a machine shop supply company and had tried to turn his life around.

He said he had stayed out of trouble since his last arrest and almost gave up smoking cannabis.

He said his employer knew about his conviction and had kept his employment open.

Judge John Dowse, sentencing, ordered Hickman to stand as he told him: “It is true you have no previous conviction for drugs offences, but you must not assume you are entitled to one free throw at the spectrum of criminal 
offences you commit. There is no doubt the eight counts on the indictment merit a custodial sentence.

“Not without some hesitation, in light of the pre-sentence report, I am prepared to pass a suspended prison sentence.”

He gave Hickman a two-year prison sentence suspended for 15 months.

He also ordered he should pay £350 towards prosecution costs.

He warned: “If you are brought back here for any other criminal offence you cannot use the same defence again.

“The court will take the view there should be no further mercy.”