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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Row over sheep led Carlisle student to 'trash' man's house

A dispute over a flock of sheep ended with a student trashing another man’s house.

Would-be soldier Dale Fenton, 22, blamed the man when he did not receive what he thought was his fair share of the money after some of the sheep they both owned were sold.

So he phoned him in an “extremely aggressive” state, making threats and making unfounded lurid comments about his sex life, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

Then – deciding that a face-to-face meeting would be better – he went round to his house and “completely lost it” when he found he was not in.

So, prosecutor Alan Lovett told the court, Fenton smashed his way into the house, punched his fist four times through the man’s £1,750 plasma TV screen, damaged the pipe to the oil tank and left a trail of footprints all through the house.

Fenton, of East Dale Street, Denton Holme, Carlisle, pleaded guilty to burglary with intent to cause criminal damage.

Defending, barrister Greg Hoare told the court that Fenton and the other man had come to an arrangement with farmer Robert Birnie, of Longtown, to keep sheep on land to which they would each contribute towards the upkeep.

The idea was that each would receive the proceeds when his own sheep were sold but, because of a mix-up caused by some sheep straying and the wrong ones being rounded up for market, Fenton was not paid for the animals he believed were his.

“There was a degree of friction,” Mr Hoare said.

Fenton wanted to “have it out” with the other man, Mr Hoare, said and went to his house to talk to him.

But when he found he was not there “a red mist came over him” and he decided to go in.

Mr Hoare asked the judge not to impose a custodial sentence, which would have put an end to Fenton’s ambition to join the Army.

Judge Paul Batty QC ordered Fenton to do 250 hours unpaid community work.

He told Fenton: “The background to this case is, to say the least, somewhat unusual.

“It is very much a Cumbrian case, in that it arose from the sale of some sheep.

“But what you did was not a Cumbrian solution at all.”

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