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Man who smashed car windows in Tandragee caught with blood on his hands

Court heard he drove from Carrickfergus to the Co Armagh town to check if his ex-partner was with her new boyfriend

Armagh Magistrates Court

A man who smashed car windows after driving to Tandragee to check if his ex-partner was with her new boyfriend has been sentenced to a 12-month probation order.

The case of James Phillips, of Old Shore Road, Carrickfergus, was heard at Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry Courthouse.

The 26-year-old was charged with two counts of criminal damage.

The prosecution outlined that on August 5, 2022, police received a report of cars being damaged in Tandragee. They attended the scene and observed two vehicles, a Corsa and a Mitsubishi, with extensive damage to their windows.

The Corsa had a smashed windscreen and both front and rear passenger side windows were smashed. The Mitsubishi also had windows smashed and a dent in the passenger side front door.

A witness reported seeing a male smashing the vehicles. He then walked around the corner and left in a car. Police then spoke to the owners of the vehicles and recorded statements.

The suspect was observed by police driving on the Westlink in Belfast, where he was stopped by officers who noted that he had blood on his hands. The vehicle was searched and a hammer and wheelbrace found.

The defendant was arrested and stated in interview that he had driven from Carrickfergus to Tandragee to see if his ex-partner’s new boyfriend was staying with her.

When he saw the two vehicles, he used the hammer in his car to smash the windows of both cars. However, he stated that he did not cause the dent to the passenger door.

The court was told that the damage to the Corsa had been repaid by the defendant and the Mitsubishi damage had been covered by the insurance.

A defence solicitor told the court that the defendant had made “full admissions” in the police station and entered guilty pleas at the “earliest opportunity”.

District Judge McSorley said: “The aggravating feature of this matter is that it has been committed in the context of a domestic violence background……in mitigation, I notice there are mental health issues.”

The District Judge imposed a 12-month probation order “in order for the defendant to address his interpersonal domestic relationships”.

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