County Antrim man given suspended jail sentence after 'dog faeces' smeared on carpets and walls of his former partner's home

County Antrim man given suspended jail sentence after 'dog faeces' smeared on carpets and walls of his former partner's home

A MAN has been found guilty of causing criminal damage to furniture and items belonging to his former partner after dog faeces was smeared on carpets and walls.

James Fenton (27), of Whitewell Road, Newtownabbey, had contested the case at Ballymena Magistrates Court

He declined to give evidence in court and a defence lawyer had said there was no evidence that the damage had been caused by Fenton.

Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer convicted the defendant of the charge saying he was spotted at the scene by police on March 5, 2021, and comments he made to the PSNI were "inconsistent".

Based on evidence he said he could not conceive that the damage was caused by an "unknown third party".

The judge said a statement from the defendant's former partner said that "dog faeces" had been "smeared on the floor, wall, carpets, the stairs".

The court heard there was also water damage after taps were turned on; cables were cut on the back of a TV; two pairs of trainers had been cut; clothing was pulled out of drawers and there was damage to furniture.

The defendant, Court News NI can report, had a previous record including causing criminal damage to a previous partner's property in 2016 when clothes were thrown around and a bedroom door damaged.

The defence lawyer said on March 5 this year Fenton had earlier been to hospital.

Judge Mateer said: "It seems the previous criminal damage was committed in pretty similar circumstances out of some kind of spite you had towards a former partner, the same kind of thing presumably motivating behaviour that led to this damage on this ocasion.

"This is quite unacceptable behaviour. Relationships break down and people have to move on with their lives. To take it out on a former partner, whatever the relationship was like, is entirely reprehensible and has got to be discouraged by the courts.

"To do this was mean and despicable in the context of a failed relationship".

The judge imposed a six months prison term, suspended for two years; handed down a two year Restraining Order and ordered the defendant to pay £500 compensation to his former partner.