Man who smashed ex-wife’s car with breeze block ‘not a violent man’

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple - Credit: Archant

Magistrates imposed a restraining order after the seventh incident police were called to involving the couple.

A MAN who smashed his ex-wife’s car with a breeze block claimed he was ‘not a violent man’, North Devon Magistrates’ Court heard today (Friday).

Craig O’Toole, 36, of Hillington, Ilfracombe, pleaded guilty to criminal damage after smashing the windows and denting the bonnet of the Vauxhall Astra belonging to his ex wife Helena O’Toole.

Prosecutor Lyndsey Baker said this was the seventh domestic incident the police had been called to involving the couple, who split up in July after six years together.

On March 8, Mrs O’Toole arrived home at 7pm, parking her car on the driveway, and went to bed at around 10pm.

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At around 1.30am, she woke to find O’Toole stood at the foot of her bed carrying a carrier bag of beer.

When asked how he got into the property, the court heard O’Toole told her: “I’ll always get in”.

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O’Toole left the house and Mrs O’Toole locked the doors. But shortly after, she heard the sound of smashing glass outside.

“She saw a breeze block on the bonnet of her car, and saw him stood next to the vehicle drinking his beer,” said Miss Baker

“She called the police and he was arrested at his home address; he had smashed each window and the bonnet of the car.

“In interview Mr O’Toole admitted causing damage to the vehicle and said he would go around and do it again if he had to.”

The court heard the father of two had last appeared in court in 2009 and had a previous conviction for criminal damage.

O’Toole, who was unrepresented in court, said he was not a violent person and had never laid a finger on Mrs O’Toole or his children.

The self employed painter and decorator claimed the vehicle was his as he had paid for the vehicle, its tax and MOT.

“I am ashamed of what I have done; I shouldn’t have taken the law into my own hands,” he said.

Magistrates ordered O’Toole to carry out 40 hours of unpaid work, to pay £200 in compensation, a £60 victim surcharge and £85 in costs.

They also imposed a restraining order to prevent him contacting Helena O’Toole in any way except through a solicitor, third party or text message to arrange childcare.

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