Man drove car into Probation Service office - and told police he was 'having a bad day'

A South Tyneside man drove his car into a Probation Service office – and told police he was ‘having a bad day’.

Kevin Hunter, 40, deliberately drove his car into the Probation Service’s HQ in Secretan Way, South Shields.

Hunter, of no fixed abode, caused £500 of damage to a door during his act on the afternoon of Sunday, July 10.

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He was not employed by the government agency and his only link was working with its staff on a community order imposed by a court

The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

Borough magistrates heard his actions were a ‘cry for help’ after previously being accused of a crime he did not commit.

The allegation led to him being held on remand in prison for five months until acquitted at trial in January, during which time he lost his job and his home.

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Prosecutor Elizabeth Winchester said Hunter gave a breath test reading of almost four times the limit after his arrest outside the Probation centre – and told police he was “having a bad day”.

She added: “On the afternoon, the defendant was seen to have approached the Probation office.

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“He was standing close by the door and kicked it, and he was then seen to get back into his vehicle and drive the vehicle into the door on more than one occasion.

“A tree was also damaged, and the front door was bent and the glass was cracked.

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“He was being spoken to by a member of the Probation staff. He told officers he was ‘having a bad day’.

“A number of cans of alcohol were found in the footwell of his car and there was an opened can in the cup holder.”

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Mrs Winchester said Hunter gave a reading at the scene of 136mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.

She revealed he refused to give two evidential samples at a police station as required by law.

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Hunter pleaded guilty to charges of failing to provide a sample for analysis and causing criminal damage.

The court heard he was convicted of failing to provide in November 2020 and has several other crimes to his name.

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Val Bell, defending, said Hunter had been left damaged by being held in custody between August last year and January.

She told the hearing he was acquitted by a jury of the charge for which he was accused and detained, which was not revealed.

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Ms Bell added: “The false statement that was made against him meant he was remanded in custody.

“A jury came back after about 10 minutes and acquitted him. Before that, he was in employment and had a mortgage.

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“He was seriously affected by the false accusation. He went for help but was told there was a waiting list.

“He had had a bad day. It was a cry for help. He has a start date for a job.”

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Magistrates adjourned the case for a pre-sentence report and imposed an interim driving ban on Hunter.

He will be sentenced at the same court on Monday, October 17.

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Harry Metcalfe, chair of the bench, told him: “Whether you’ve had a bad day or not, it’s going to get worse.”