14/08/2014 12:58 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Judge's Sympathy For Protective Dad Who Rammed 4x4 Into Noisy Neighbour's House


A judge has shown sympathy to a dad who drove his 4x4 into the home of his daughter's noisy neighbours.

Paul Kingsman, 52, had rammed the house with his Cherokee Jeep before yelling: "That's how you bang on a f***ing wall."

But despite pleading guilty to to affray, dangerous driving and criminal damage, the judge handed him a suspended sentence, saying that police should have stepped in to stop the situation escalating.

Kingsman was also cleared of causing damage and being reckless to endanger life.

Peterborough Crown Court heard that the dad snapped after his daughter Sophie, 23, was repeatedly terrorised by Charlene Vernall, who lived next to her in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire.

Charlene and her children. Pic:

Sophie had endured five months of abuse from her neighbour, before her father warned the occupants of Ms Vernall's house they had three minutes to leave. He then reversed his Cherokee Jeep into the front wall, forcing those inside to flee out of the windows at the back of the house.

He then drove home in his damaged car and sat sobbing until the police arrived.

The court was told that the bad feeling began when Miss Vernall reported Mr Kingsman's daughter, Sophie, to the RSPCA after she allegedly left her unfed dog in the snow at her home in Tansor Garth, Peterborough.

Miss Vernall then allegedly held parties until 5am which kept Miss Kingsman and her son awake all night.

Miss Kingsman told the court: "It was so loud I couldn't watch TV and my stairs were shaking. It used to keep my baby son awake all night.

"Often it went on until 5 in the morning and I could hear the children next door crying too. They used to kick my fence late at night. Once they started sort of roaring, like lions, through my walls.

"I could hear men threatening to come round and punch me in the face. I could hear people saying they needed to go and get weapons. I was always frightened."

The young mother said she reported Miss Vernall's behaviour to the police and her housing association but claimed nothing was done to solve the problem.

On the day in question, Miss Kingsman phoned her dad while he was out shopping to tell him she was still having problems with Miss Vernall.

He told the court: "I took the view no one else was going to stop it. I thought if I damage that property no one could live there. I lined my car up, drove through the fence and stopped. I got out and banged the door and the window and was shouting, 'You've got three minutes to get out'.

"Then I rammed the house in. When I got out I shouted, 'That's how you bang on a f***ing wall'."

The crash caused £14,000 worth of damage and the gaping hole left the house structurally unsafe.

Jane Bickerstaff QC, defending, said Kingsman had been under 'severe stress' at the time due to his father suffering from Alzheimer's and difficulties with his salvage firm.

Judge Sean Enright sentenced him to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years. He was also banned from driving for three years, ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay the housing association £13,462 in compensation.

The judge said: "Your daughter was the subject of prolonged and constant abuse at the hands of her neighbour. She was not effectively supported by a number of agencies including the police and her housing association.

"It seems you were particularly close to your daughter and you decided to take direct action to put things right.

"However, I should point out what is obvious. Your obligations as a father were to contact the housing association and police to insist something was done.

"Sometimes the mechanisms in society do not work very well. But it is up to people like you to make sure these things work as they should.

"Instead, the actions you took were thuggish and selfish. You caused distress, shock and fear."

However, Mr Enright added: "You took steps to ensure no one was in the house and were shocked when you realised there were people inside.

"It seems to me that the persecution of your daughter seems to have tipped you over the edge and led you to act in a way entirely out of character.

"You are of exemplary character, having raised a family and become an employer of around 20 people.

"In principle, custody is richly deserved. But this is one of those rare cases where the public interest is not served by a custodial sentence."