Ex-soldier threatened Rhyl Hotel staff with scissors and punched manager

An ex-soldier threatened to stab people he mistakenly believed was hiding a paedophile. Thomas Nickless, of River Street in Rhyl, brandished a gun during a confrontation with local hotel staff last summer.

The 36-year-old confessed to his crimes and was taken to Mold Crown Court to be sentenced. He had been charged with assault by beating, threatening a person with a blade as well as threatening to damage property.

Prosecutor Ember Wong told the court how Nickless showed up at Rhyl’s Imperial Hotel in June 2021 and began “bullying” a female bar staff member. The manager, Mark Taylor, was called in to deal with the heated situation.

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An “irritated” Nickless identified himself as “Tom of Berwyn”, which the prosecutor said referred to him having previously served at HMP Berwyn in Wrexham. He “demanded” to speak to someone he thought was staying at the hotel.

Having failed to find the person he wanted, Nickless stormed out of the hotel. The court heard he returned a few hours later, shortly after 9 p.m., now dressed in “all black” and hiding something in his jacket pocket.



The Imperial Hotel, Rhyl

He approached another member of the bar staff and shouted “Where the hell is Ozzy?”. When he was told that no one with that name was staying there, he got even angrier.

Mr. Taylor was informed that Nickless had returned and tried to talk to him again. He continued to “kick it off”, the court heard, before shouting “you’re harboring a paedophile” for the whole bar to hear and pulling out a pair of scissors.

Nickless then threatened to kill Mr. Taylor, who at this point began to distance himself from the accused. The 36-year-old made “stinging” motions through the air with the blade as he threatened.

CCTV captured the moment Mr Taylor was then punched by Nickless who quickly got away. He would have walked towards the station, Ms Wong said.

Defense Simon Rogers said Nickless was ‘realistic’ and accepted it was ‘inevitable’ that he would return to prison for these ‘totally unacceptable offences’. The court heard how the anger stemmed from Nickless loaning boxing equipment to a man staying at the hotel who then refused to return the property.

Since the attack last summer, Mr Rogers said the father-of-two had been trying to ‘turn his life around’. He said the ex-soldier has since quit drinking and focused on fitness.

Nickless was sentenced to a total of 23 months behind bars. Judge Timothy Petts said it was the only appropriate punishment to reflect the outcome of his “aggressive and intimidating” conduct.

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Peter M. Doran