Divorce and death lead to Lamphey man's crime spree

Haverfordwest Magistrates Court (6907807)

Haverfordwest Magistrates Court (6907807)

First published in News

A LAMPHEY man went on a crime spree following the breakdown of his marriage and the death of his father, Haverfordwest Magistrates Court heard on Wednesday.

Robert Saunders, 36, of Strawberry Hill Farm, pleaded guilty to assaulting Jolene Saunders, and destroying a smoke alarm and a portable electric heater during the incident in December last year.

He admitted stealing cosmetics and clothing worth £100 from Tesco Pembroke Dock on May 8, and the theft of groceries, cosmetics and alcohol totalling £216.23 from Asda Pembroke Dock on May 9.

He also pleaded guilty to breaching a 12-month conditional discharge, imposed in January after he damaged a gate.

Tom Scapens, prosecuting, told the court Saunders and his wife lived apart and were divorcing.

“In December, he went to Jolene Saunders’ house after leaving Paddles nightclub,” said Mr Scapens. “She let him in, because he was likely to cause trouble if he didn’t. He called her a slag. She tried not to antagonise him.”

Saunders attempted to make toast, but burnt the bread. The house filled with smoke. When the smoke alarm beeped, he ripped it off the ceiling, leaving the wires exposed. He then tore down the curtains, catching them in the wires.

“Jolene Saunders took a picture off the wall, initially to fan the smoke, but admits she went to hit the defendant with it,” Mr Scapens explained. “He grabbed it and hit her over the back, breaking the frame. He shouted “I hope you die” and held her down on the sofa by her arms.”

Mrs Saunders left the house. The defendant grabbed her hair and she fell on the floor. He then returned to the house, picked up the heater and threw it at her.

“His long-term relationship ended, and he suffered emotional difficulties. His father died, which impacted on him heavily, and he came close to suffering some sort of breakdown,” said Mark Layton, defending. “Why did he steal? It was probably due to his mental state, as he is employed by a family business and has a high level of disposable income.”

Mr Layton said Saunders was now drug and alcohol free, and receiving support and counselling.

“I think the short spell he spent in Swansea Prison (for a separate matter) is something he doesn’t want to repeat,” he added.

Magistrates sentenced Saunders to a 12 month Community Order, with supervision and a specified activity.

They ordered him to pay a £50 fine, costs and a surcharge totalling £145, and £300 compensation to his wife.

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