South Shields woman left 'freaked out' after former partner damaged her home and car

A man who damaged his former girlfriend’s car and home in South Shields has been handed a suspended prison term.

Michael Hunter, 53, first threw a brick through her front window in a dead of night attack on Saturday, August 6. Hunter, of no fixed abode, boasted of his attack in a Facebook photo post, which stated, ‘August pic of the month’, a court heard. And two weeks later, he returned to spray paint her Fiat car as it sat parked on her driveway overnight, causing £500 of damage.

Prosecutor Stephanie Cook said his outlandish behaviour continued when he turned up at the care home where she worked the same month. Ms Cook said his victim spotted him at a window and when quizzed why he was there, he said, “No damage to your car, then?” She revealed the final encounter contributed to Hunter’s ex-partner feeling “freaked out”, and added: “These offences are domestic related.”

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At South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, Hunter was jailed for eight weeks, suspended for 18 months. He had admitted two charges of causing criminal damage and one of stalking involving serious alarm or distress at an earlier hearing. Hunter appeared for his sentencing hearing via video link from HMP Durham, where he had been kept on remand for 25 days.

The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

Joanne Gatens, defending, said: “I think it’s fair to say that his period in custody has been a lesson to him. He did feel let down when he was at a time of personal crisis. Mr Hunter felt that there should have been more support for what he was going through. He is remorseful for his behaviour and has no ill feelings towards her.”

District Judge Zoe Passfield said she was primarily sparing Hunter prison due to the time he had spent on remand. She handed him suspended terms of eight weeks for stalking and four weeks for each criminal damage, to run concurrently.

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Hunter was also given an 18-month restraining order, barring him from contacting the woman and entering her street. He must also complete 15 rehabilitation days and the Building Better Relationships programme, and pay £210 compensation.