46 years old tenant, David Pearson, refused to leave his landlord’s property and caused nearly £5,700 of damage with rent arrears after a minor disagreement with his Cornwall landlord.
Pearson appeared at Truro Crown Magistrates Court last week, where he pleaded guilty to causing the damage to the rented home in Delabole, Cornwall earlier this year.
The court heard that Pearson, now living in Torrington, Devon, had committed the damage to the property after a breakdown in the relationship between him and his landlord.
The prosecuting barrister, Phillip Lee, told the court that Pearson had moved into the property with his elderly mother in 2017. But when the owners (landlords) Deborah Roberts and her husband went to inspect the property in early March this year, Pearson wouldn’t allow them entry and there followed was a verbal altercation.
After this incident, Parson refused to pay his rent, and told his landlord that he would be squatting at the property from then on.
Later the owner entered the property in April, following a concern they had for the welfare of the tenant’s mother, and they discovered that the property had been badly damaged, including damage to the boiler, a kitchen cupboard, an electrical socket, a wall and a ceiling, while a built-in cupboard and door were also missing. The garage also contained a pile of builders’ rubble.
Mr Lee said the case was a “…a sorry tale, and “would appear to be deliberate damage following the altercation in March.”
Pearson, who had previous convictions for violence, admitted he made alterations and caused damaged but claimed he intended to make good. He also said that shoddy workmanship had caused some of the problems.
Defending Pearson, Chris Andrews said: “The defendant said he never had difficulties with Mrs Roberts, but his relationship with Mr Roberts deteriorated. There was an argument between the two of them over a gateway.
Sentencing Pearson, Judge Simon Carr said:
“This was deliberate, malevolent criminal damage. You deliberately sought to destroy the property out of pure spite.”
But, “Malicious though it was, it can be met by a community penalty.” Judge Carr sentenced Pearson to a 12-month community penalty, including 25 rehabilitation activity requirement sessions and 120 hours of unpaid work. He must also pay £1,000 in compensation to the victims and was told they may pursue further damages through civil proceedings.