‘I need help’ – man admits slashing tyres on 45 cars

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A ONE-MAN crimewave caused thousands of pounds of damage as 45 cars had their tyres slashed by a defendant who has admitted he “needs help”.

John Casey used a sharp implement to attack the vehicles during a period of just over two weeks and was charged with nine counts of criminal damage last month.

He is a man who has for many, many years battled with significant mental health problems.

Appearing at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court, the 54-year-old, of Lumley Close, Oxclose, pleaded guilty to all counts and also asked for another 36 like offences to be taken into consideration, when he is sentenced next month.

Casey’s arrest follows police appeals after 10 vehicles were targeted in Mandeville, Usworth, Langdale and Swirral Edge and Hertburn Gardens, in Albany, and Cotswold Close, Oxclose during the first weekend of January. The following weekend, more than 20 cars were attacked in Firtree Avenue, Hawthorn Crescent, Cedar Terrace, Rowan Avenue and Pinewood Avenue, all in Harraton.

However, Casey’s crime spree began on December 27, when he damaged two tyres to the value of £110. In total, £1,895 of damage was caused to the nine vehicles subject to the charges.

Each car had two tyres punctured and one belonged to Casey’s former partner, the court was told.

It was not disclosed how much damage he caused to the 36 vehicles subject to the TIC (take into consideration) schedule.

Paul McAllindon, defending, said: “He is a man who has for many, many years battled with significant mental health problems.

“He couldn’t offer police an explanation as to why he did what he did.

“He said ‘I don’t know why, I can’t explain why. I have problems, I need help’. I find this quite concerning.”

Casey told the court he was frightened of leaving the house. “I feel so ashamed,” he added.

He was bailed on conditions that he stays indoors between 8pm and 7am.

“He is also not to carry any pointed article in a public place that is capable of causing damage to vehicle tyres, including items that are otherwise legal to carry, like folding pocket knives or screw drivers.

The bench asked for a pre-sentence report to be prepared by the Probation Service and Casey will be sentenced on April 20.