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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Jealous man went on rampage in revenge attack on ex-girlfriend

A man took revenge on his ex-girlfriend by going on the rampage through the street where she lives, spraying obscene comments on cars and houses and leaving her children’s pet hamsters dead.

Thomas Gilheaney photo
Thomas Gilheaney, of Workington: Jailed for four years and four months after admitting two charges of burglary and seven of criminal damage. The court heard he had 111 previous convictions

Carlisle Crown Court heard that by the time Thomas Gilheaney had finished his rampage along Moss Bay Road, in Workington, on August 30, he had vandalised the home of his ex-lover’s former husband, thrown paint around her garden shed and spray-painted a van, two cars, three houses and a shop.

Today, the jealous 39-year-old, from Birch Close, Workington, is beginning a prison sentence of four years and four months for a series of crimes which the judge said had shocked the whole community.

Gilheaney, who had 111 previous convictions, had pleaded guilty to two charges of burglary and seven of criminal damage.

A further charge of causing unnecessary suffering to the hamsters by stamping on them was dropped, because the prosecution could not prove he had killed them on purpose.

All that could be said, the court heard, was that they had been alive in their cage when Gilheaney entered the house, and dead on the floor when he left it.

Judge Paul Batty QC, the Honorary Recorder of Carlisle, said he had never encountered a case of so much damage being caused so gratuitously.

Prosecuting counsel David Traynor told the court that Gilheaney and Dawn Anderson had been in an on-off relationship for a long time until they finally split up in July 2012.

After that, he said, Gilheaney began a vicious campaign posting offensive messages about her on Facebook, forcing the police to warn him to leave her alone.

On August 27 this year he tried to talk to Mrs Anderson while she was visiting her ex-husband Clifford, who lived near her in Moss Bay Road. When she refused, he again posted Facebook messages about her, Mr Traynor said.

Mrs Anderson and her ex-husband took their children on holiday and it was while they were away that Gilheaney broke into Mr Anderson’s house and trashed it.

The court heard that Gilheaney smeared coffee over the walls and curtains, ripped a radiator off the wall, smashed two televisions, ransacked the children’s bedrooms and wrecked the toilet cistern which flooded the floor – causing £700 damage.

He then spray-painted Mr Anderson’s Seat car and Transit van and scratched the bodywork, before doing the same thing to a Ford Focus owned by neighbour Philip Jones.

Then, Mr Traynor said, Gilheaney went down the road and broke into Mrs Anderson’s shed, hurling paint around inside it, before spraying obscenities on her house and drawing a target on her window.

He also sprayed paint around the front door of neighbour Derek Bell’s house, painted over the windows, door and drainpipes of Jeanette Smith’s house next door and sprayed another offensive message on the walls of the Premier shop nearby.

Passing sentence, Judge Battysaid: “I don’t think I have ever come across a case where there has been such gratuitous damage, not only in the property itself but around and about it. It was absolutely appalling – for the whole community.”

In addition to the prison sentence – four years for the string of new offences and four months of a sentence for assault which had previously been suspended – the judge imposed a restraining order, banning Gilheaney from contacting Mrs Anderson, her ex-husband or her children in any way for the next 10 years.

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