Burglar flooded guest house after owner rejected his advances

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A vengeful burglar flooded a woman’s guest house after she spurned his unwanted advances.

Drunken Kevin Hartley, 35, left shower heads on the floor and plug holes covered as he turned on water after breaking into Glenfield House in February.

Three ceilings at the property collapsed and proprietor Katherine King was said to have been left to deal with damage and lost earnings which ran into thousands of pounds.

Hartley was sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court. He had admitted a charge of burglary with intent to do unlawful damage.

The court heard painter and decorator Hartley had carried out work at the guest house for Miss King.

But prosecutor Beccy McGregor said his duties were reduced after he began to act “inappropriately”. He stated he had feelings for her, but was told these were not shared by Miss King, who discouraged him.

On one occasion she found Hartley letting himself out of her property, with the living room having been left “full of Christmas presents”.

In February this year Hartley told Miss King “he had his heart broken by her”.

Later in the month she left the guest house to visit family but was alerted by neighbours to an alarm sounding and water “gushing” out of it. Keys were found to have been removed from bedroom doors to prevent police initially gaining access.

“She returned,” said Ms McGregor, “and found the property in a terrible state”.

Miss King had been caused a “great deal of stress” and believed “it was calculated to cause a maximum amount of damage”.

Hartley admitted the offence when interviewed, saying it was a “spur of the moment act” while he was “extremely drunk”.

Marion Weir, defending, spoke of Hartley’s remorse, and said he was “terrified at the thought of custody”.

Alcohol, said Miss Weir, was the “under-pinning issue in all his difficulties”. He had been “spiralling out of control in terms of his mental health” and feared he would lose his home.

A 20-month prison sentence was suspended for 18 months.

Hartley, of Snebro Road, Whitehaven, was given a rehabilitation requirement, four-month night-time curfew and unpaid work.

A restraining order will prevent him contacting Miss King in any way for five years.

Recorder Nicholas Clarke QC told him: “You behaved in a most disgraceful manner.”

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