Sunderland man smashed pregnant girlfriend's car with pogo stick after pair had 'minor' row

A drunken dad used scrap metal and a pogo stick to smash his pregnant partner’s car – and then sped off while suspected of being over the drink-drive limit.

Sunday, 6th December 2020, 12:30 pm

Robert Steel, 34, left their home in Padgate Road, South Hylton, Sunderland, after a minor argument and returned drunk at 6.30am the next day.

Steel then punched himself and told his shocked girlfriend he would accuse her of attacking him should police arrive, a court heard.

He left a second time but came back with a bottle of cider – and attacked the Ford Fiesta, inflicting £500 of damage.

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The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

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Steel then got in a car and drove away and was found parked up in Fordham Road, on the Ford Estate, Sunderland, by police on Tuesday, July 14.

He gave a roadside breath test almost three times the limit but refused to take a second test at a police station to confirm the reading.

Prosecutor Grace Taylor told magistrates in South Tyneside: “The complainant states that they had been in an on-off relationship for 15 years.

“They have two children together and at the time of the offence she was pregnant with the defendant’s child.

“The relationship had been good, but issues arose when the defendant had been drinking alcohol.

“There was a minor argument and he left, and she heard nothing from him until 6.30am the following day when he returned in an intoxicated state.

“He was on his telephone and arguing with a friend, he was agitated, she phoned the police.”

She added: “He punched himself and told her he would tell officers she did it. He then went out again.

“The police came and made a report, but left. The defendant then returned with a bottle of cider.

“He picked up scrap metal and a pogo stick and damaged the wing mirrors and a door.

“He then drove off which shocked her because he was so drunk. He returned but again left in the car, and was stopped by the police.

“The defendant gave a roadside breath test which had a reading of 100mcgs of alcohol in breath.

“He was taken to the police station and was asked to give a reading on the CAMIC device, but he refused.”

The court heard Steel, who pleaded guilty to failing to provide a specimen for analysis and causing criminal damage, had an excess alcohol conviction in 2018.

Ian Cassidy, defending, told the court his client understood the damage he had caused to his partner’s vehicle.

He said: “What the defendant accepts is the criminal damage and the fact that he was drunk.

“He accepts that he failed to provide. It’s a six-month old offence.”

The court heard Steel’s vehicle was parked up and not moving by the time police located him.

Magistrates, who heard the drink-drive limit is 35mcgs of alcohol, adjourned the case for a report and Steel will be sentenced at the same court on Monday, December 21.

He was granted bail on condition he does not interfere with prosecution witnesses, or enter Fordham Road.

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