Police have defended their response to anti-social behaviour after a dad who drive a jeep into the house of his daughter’s Peterborough neighbour from hell avoided jail.
Paul Kingsman drive his car into the front room of the house in Tansor Garth, Peterborough, after hearing how for months resident Charlene Vernell had terrorised his daughter, Sophie, who lived next door.
On Thursday (6 February) Kingsman was given an 18 month jail sentence, suspended for two years after Judge Sean Enright said the case was one of the ‘rare examples of when serious charges do not necessarily mean immediate custody.”
Judge Enright added he thought police and housing association Cross Keys Homes had not done enough to support Sophie.
He said “Your daughter was subject to prolonged unpleasant and anti-social behaviour by her neighbour.
“Your daughter had a very young child, and was not effectively supported by agencies.
“It seems you were particularly close to your daughter, and decided to take direct action to put things right. You should have taken her to the proper authorities, and referred her to your councillor or MP.”
But a police spokesman said: “We take reports of anti-social behaviour extremely seriously and were supporting Mr Kingsman’s daughter after she contacted us to complain about noise nuisance.
“Officers visited both parties involved in the dispute several times following that initial report which we received on May 20, last year. The final visit was alongside officers from Cross Keys Homes as we sought to find a resolution to the problem.
“Words of advice were given to both women involved on that occasion and Mr Kingsman’s daughter was given an anti-social behaviour log to fill in.
“She was also given the phone numbers of two PCSOs and a housing officer, however was told to call 101 or 999 out of hours or in an emergency.
“We understand the impact that anti-social behaviour can have on victims and work hard with partner agencies to resolve neighbour disputes.”
Cross Keys Homes’ head of neighbourhoods and communities, Joan Tibbs, also defended the support given to Sophie.
She said: “We are disappointed by Judge Enright’s comments about our support because we did all that we possibly could within our remit and the limited timeframe we had to support Sophie.
“Sophie reported the noise nuisance she was suffering just over a month before the incident took place and during this time we worked together with the police to best gather evidence to support Sophie with her case.
“The incident was truly shocking and we would have intervened sooner were we made aware of the horrible problems Sophie was having.
Cross Keys residents are urged to text the association’s free dedicated anti-social behaviour line by typing asb and the nature of the complaint and texting 60066.
Kingsman was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, pay £13,642 in compensation, £1,200 in costs and banned from driving for three years.