Baseball bat threats man jail term on hold

A man who hammered a house door with a wooden baseball bat to scare a former school friend who had insulted him in the street has escaped an immediate jail term.

Mark Betteley, of Dawson Street, Blakenall, was  handed an eight-month jail term suspended for 24 months after pleading guilty to affray at a hearing on May 16. Mr David Swinnerton, defending, admitted his client smashed six holes in the door of the house on Ingram Road at 11.30pm on January 12 while he was subject to a community order. The 26-year-old defendant had been shouting outside the house earlier the same day.

However, he returned later with a different companion to hit the door, ‘no doubt fuelled by the four or five pints he had drunk’ said Mr Swinnerton.

Miss Alka Brigue, prosecuting, said the police helicopter was in the area at the time and picked up the two men leaving the address and the defendant dropping the baseball bat nearby.

She added: “A woman heard shouting at around 6pm outside her house by two men who were calling for her 19-year-old son to come outside. They said they were going to kill him, and they would come back to smash the house up. Her other son said two men came back at around 11.30pm.

“He noticed one of them had a wooden baseball bat and they began banging the front door. They were shouting the nickname of the 19-year-old boy for him to come outside.

“He was not in but they smashed the door several times leaving six large dents in the door. The woman inside the house was clearly scared at the time. He admitted in interview his intention was to frighten the family.”

Wolverhampton Crown Court heard on Thursday that Betteley had previous convictions for public order offences, breaching community orders and assault, as well as a caution for causing actual bodily harm.

Mr Swinnerton said his client was sorry and wanted to offer to pay for the damage to the door but had been restricted from doing so by his bail conditions. He added: “It was stupidity or foolishness. His grievance was from being bad mouthed in the street and he wanted to frighten the person who did it, whom he knew from school.”

He said that Betteley had already completed all the unpaid work required of his previous community order.

Judge John Warner decided to suspend his sentence but did order Betteley complete supervision for 12 months, as well as a period of education and training, and imposed a 20-week curfew between 7pm and 7am. He also ordered Betteley to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £375 compensation and a surcharge to be fixed administratively after the case.