Drink-driver wrecks pensioner’s house, beats girlfriend and threatens ex in vodka-fuelled ‘night of madness’

The wrecked house in Newcastle Road

The wrecked house in Newcastle Road

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MANIAC motorist Neil Bater smashed a stolen car into an 84-year-old man’s home after downing a litre of vodka in what a court was told was a “night of madness.”

The 40-year-old, of Sunderland, attacked his girlfriend of just nine weeks, smashed her belongings, and took her car before heading off to his ex-wife’s home, whom he threatened to kill.

But Bater ploughed into the home of pensioner Bill Dugan, who was asleep in bed, in the early hours.

When a female security guard saw Bater slumped in the car, he starting punching her.

Recorder Jonathan Carrol told him: “But for the grace of God you could have killed somebody, not least of which yourself.”

Bater, who has been caught drink-driving twice in the past, was banned from the roads for three years and handed a suspended prison sentence.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 40-year-old appeared to be unconscious after he ploughed into the house, on Newcastle Road, causing a gas leak, while the 84-year-old resident slept upstairs.

But when the worried security officer, who had been working nearby, tried to pull him out of the car to safety, he started throwing punches at her.

Mr Recorder Jonathan Carrol told Bater: “You drove straight into the home of an elderly gentleman asleep in his bed upstairs. You smashed through his garden wall, physically smashed the car into his house.

“There was a substantial hole through the full thickness of his house, into what looks like his living room.”

He added: “Probably the only reason you did not hurt anyone was that it was 2.15am.”

Bater was given 17 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with supervision, programme requirements and alcohol treatment.

He had pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking, two common assaults, criminal damage, driving while disqualified, affray, having no insurance and driving with excess alcohol.

The judge said Bater was “probably a decent person” without alcohol and said help to cure his drink problem would make society safer.

The court heard Bater had been drinking at his girlfriend’s home, who he had been seeing for just nine weeks, when he flew into a rage and took her car to drive to his ex-wife’s house.

Prosecutor Michael Bunch said: “He shouted to his son he was going to kill him and would kill his ex-wife as well.”

Bater then went back to his girlfriend’s house where he damaged her garage door, pushed her to the floor, hit her across the face and damaged her phone and computer.

It was when he drove off the second time he ploughed into the OAP’s home.

Bater has been banned by a restraining order from contacting his then-girlfriend or his ex-wife and children.

Jamie Adams, defending, said the “night of madness” has been a wake-up call for Bater, who has a good work record.

Mr Adams said: “Alcohol has been an illness with him. It has overtaken him.”

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho