‘Stupid’ hammer attacker got the wrong house

Newcastle Crown Court
Newcastle Crown Court

A shocked dad was confronted by a hammer wielding stranger when he investigated a late night noise outside his home.

The householder was warned “I will f****** do you” by Mark Fletcher, who had the weapon raised above his head – and had got the wrong house.

Fletcher was disarmed after a “scuffle” with the victim, who said was left “angry and shocked”.

A judge at Newcastle Crown Court branded 32-year-old Fletcher “stupid” for turning up at the wrong door and causing such fear.

Fletcher, who was out on licence from a previous sentence for violence and has since been recalled back to prison, was given eight months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, £300 compensation, supervision and programme requirements.

Mr Recorder Keith Miller told him: “This must have been a very alarming incident for the householder.

“People are entitled to live in their own homes without fear of their homes being attacked by people like you.

“You were sufficiently stupid not even to get the right house.”

The court heard the victim had been watching television at his home in Wisteria Gardens, South Shields, while his family were asleep in bed on December 9 last year when he heard a noise outside then saw shadowed figures near his front door.

When he went outside to confront who was there and ask why they were hanging around, he was saw Fletcher and a female walking away.

Proscutor Michael Bunch told the court; “The defendant explained he had the wrong house.

“He shouted ‘I will f****** do you’ and raised his right arm above his head.

“At that point, as he raised his arm, the householder realised that the male had a hammer.

“He lowered his arm and then raised it again and started coming towards he complainant in a threatening manner, as though ready to strike him.”

The court heard Fletcher, who was disarmed when a struggle broke out, left with the woman in a taxi.

The householder realised there was damage to the outside of one of his double glazed windows.

Fletcher was arrested after the victim gave details he remembered from the cab’s number plate to the police and he was traced to a house in Hebburn.

He made threats to the police officers who detained him.

Fletcher, of Rodsley Avenue, Gateshead, admitted having an offensive weapon and criminal damage.

Rachel Hedworth, defending, said Fletcher has served the equivalent of an eight month jail term while recalled to custody and has a chance of a job on his release.

The judge said probation service officials are doubtful the risk Fletcher poses to the public can be managed in the community but he can be given an opportunity because of the time he has spent recalled to jail.

The judge warned him: “I hope you have learned your lesson. If you have not, you will be back inside, simple as that.”