Sunderland neighbour damaged van in angry outburst after couple arrived home from holiday and started unpacking

A holidaymaking couple were given a less than a warm welcome home when a neighbour asked the husband outside in confrontation - and then damaged their van.

Monday, 27th September 2021, 4:55 am
The case was dealt with at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

Angry Stephen Owellen, 36, told the man’s wife, “Get him out", after they made noise unloading their van in St Lukes Road, Pennywell, Sunderland.

When she refused at 10pm on Sunday, July 25, he swore at her and warned, “If you don’t get him out, I’ll take it out on the van”, a court heard.

Owellen was as good as his word and caused up to £400 damage to the black Vauxhall Combi with either an unidentified metal object or his boot.

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He has eight past offences for causing criminal damage and was serving a community order for the same crime at the time, it was said.

Prosecutor Clare Irving told South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court: “They had returned from a trip away when the man was unloading into a side gate.

“The defendant shouted, ‘You’re making noise at 10pm’. The man has been in the rear garden of his property.

“He heard a gate shut and had a clear view of his van. He saw the defendant walk up to the van and hit it with an unidentified implement.

“There was a dent to the panel at the rear of £400. The victim doesn’t know him by name, but they’ve been neighbours for six months.

“He says the street used to be quiet until the defendant and his family moved in.”

In a victim impact statement, the wife said Owellen had told her to “get him out” in reference to her husband.

She replied, “No I’ll not”, to which Owellen issued his van damage threat – and then struck by kicking the vehicle, she said.

Alaister Naismith, defending, described the incident as “a flash in the pan” and said no further incidents had occurred.

He added: “He disputes the language that it is claimed that he used.

“He kicked the bottom metal part of the van, there was a small dent in the panel.”

Owellen, who owes the courts £3,700 in past fines and costs, pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage.

He was fined £80, and must pay £300 compensation. There were no court costs or victim surcharge.

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