Mansfield Woodhouse man convicted of grudge atack on former bosses

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A jail sentence hangs over a Mansfield Woodhouse grudge attacker who vandalised cars belonging to his former bosses.

Anthony Gray returned home from work at 6.30am to find the letter X had been painted on his front door, under his front windows and on a side wall.

He went to the address of a neighbour, Terry Mead, and saw it had been vandalised in a similar way, Chesterfield magistrates heard.

“Mr Mead’s vehicle was also damaged with some form of paint stripper that was still bubbling. A third neighbour’s car had been damaged by paint stripper,” said Becky Mahon, prosecuting.

“Mr Gray said it affected his family as they had been targetted by someone they didn’t know for reasons they could only guess at. His wife became nervous and jumpy.”

The court heard that victims Mr Mead and David Smith were both managers at TPA, a company based in Worksop where Patrick Kearns used to work.

Kearns (53) was quizzed by police and denied causing the damage. He was released after he took part in a video-identification parade but he later called police and confessed.

“He said he had been dismissed by the company earlier that year and he was aggrieved by that. He felt two of the managers had failed to properly investigate matters leading to his dismissal and he located their addresses and caused the damage.

“He said he only called police when he realised one of the complainants - Mr Gray - had no connection with the company,” added Ms Mahon.

Kearns, a father-of-three, of The Green, Mansfield Woodhouse, denied three charges of damaging property on 13th December last year but was convicted following a trial.

He was jailed for 12 weeks but the sentence was suspended for a year. Presiding magistrate Tim Norton also imposed a 7pm-7am curfew for 16 weeks and ordered him to pay a total of £700 compensation.

Kearns was handed a restraining order banning him from contacting his victims or going near their homes for a year.

“He continues to deny the offence despite making admissions to police. He worked for TPA for seven years and believed he had been bullied by a manager.

“He has targeted managers of the company and left three families frightened of further reprisals. He says this conviction may go to appeal,” said probation officer Jerry Starnes, adding that Kearns suffered from depression.

Steve Brint, for Kearns, said he committed a string of offences up to 1998 but then stayed out of trouble until this conviction.