Man smashed windows of Hebburn home 'secretly and violently', leaving behind trail of blood

A man has been spared jail for attacking a house with a hammer while its occupants were inside.

Friday, 3rd December 2021, 4:55 am

James Donnelly, 21, caused £300 damage putting three windows out at the property in Hebburn, on Saturday, March 27.

Donnelly, of Hedgeley Road, also Hebburn, left behind a trail of his own blood, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard.

Defence solicitor Kevin Smallcombe denied a hammer had been used and claimed the incident had been sparked by an attack on the defendant’s home.

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The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

But Donnelly’s retribution came less than three months after he had been sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court for being in possession of a bladed article.

For that crime, he was handed a 12-month community order, with a requirement of rehabilitation work with the Probation Service.

The hammer attack, aggravated by the community order, led Deputy District Judge Nicholas Hayles to jail him for a month, suspended for a year.

Of his window smashing offence, Judge Hayles said: “It’s breaking windows with a hammer.

“The aggravating factor is the imposition of the community order in January.

“The sentence will remind him that for a period of 12 months he can’t commit any offences.

“Surreptitiously, he went around and broke the windows of the house. Secretly, violently, leaving blood on the panes.

‘It’s aggravated that two months prior he was made subject to a community order.

“It’s not so much the amount of the damage, it’s the circumstances of the damage.”

Judge Hayles added: “He’s taken it out of the guidelines by attacking someone’s property with a weapon, whether it’s his fists or not, and he didn’t own up to it initially.

“He has credit for his guilty plea, it’s one month rather than two. He’s attacked someone physically, frighteningly.”

Mr Smallcombe, who contested the sentence, told the hearing: “The defendant will say that it’s in response to an attack on his family home.

“He denies there was a hammer. It was ill thought out, and led to three windows being put out.”

Judge Hayles also ordered Donnelly, who pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage, to pay £300 compensation, £85 court costs and a £128 victim surcharge.

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