A dad who rammed his 4×4 into the living room of his daughter’s nightmare neighbours yelling “That’s how you bang on a f***ing wall” escaped jail yesterday.
A judge took pity on fuming Paul Kingsman, 52, who took the law into his own hands after noisy Charlene Vernall terrorised his daughter Sophie, 23, for months.
He warned the occupants they had three minutes to get out and then reversed his Cherokee Jeep at speed into the wall.
The people inside fled through rear windows as the vehicle crashed into their lounge.
Stressed Kingsman then drove home in his trashed vehicle and sat sobbing waiting for police to arrive.
He admitted affray, dangerous driving and criminal damage but last month a jury cleared him of causing damage reckless to endanger life.
He was given an 18 month suspended sentence at Peterborough Crown Court after a judge criticised police and a housing association for failing to protect his daughter.
Judge Sean Enright 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.”
The judge added: “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 I heard your evidence and I am satisfied your account was broadly truthful.
“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.
“It seems to me that the likelihood of you reoffending is minimal.
“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.”
The court heard nasty neighbour Vernall, 25, began her hate campaign last January when Sophie reported her dog to the RSPCA because it had been left unfed in the snow.
In retaliation she began inviting men round to her council house for wild parties with deafening music playing until five in the morning.
They would bang on Sophie’s wall at all hours of the night, keeping her baby boy awake until the early hours.
Sophie told the courts: “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 abuse carried on nearly every night for months, the court heard.
Sophie reported her nightmare neighbours to the police and her housing association, but little was ever done.
One morning, Sophie rang her dad while he was out shopping to tell him her nightmare was still not over – and he snapped.
In a blind rage, the building firm director got in his company’s burgundy Jeep and drove over footpaths and parks to his daughter’s address in Peterborough, Cambs
Kingsman 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 fucking wall.”
The crash caused #14,000 worth of damage and the gaping hole left the house structurally unsafe.
Kingsman was handed an 18 month sentence for each offence suspended for two years to run concurrently.
He was 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 for the wrecked house.
Jane Bickerstaff QC, defending, said he had been under “severe stress” at the time due to his father having Alzheimer’s and difficulties with his salvage firm.