Man broke into ‘friend of 30 years’ house and smashed it up with a bat after drunken night out

A man broke into his friend’s house armed with a baseball bat and smashed it up following a drunken night out. Gary Randell, 44, later told police he couldn’t remember doing it.

The men had been friends for over 30 years and there had been no bad blood between them, Minshull Street Crown Court heard. However, Randell, of Oldham, turned up at the man’s house in May and went from room to room ‘smashing the place up’.

He has since pleaded guilty to an offence of burglary with intent to cause criminal damage, and was today (May 31) handed a suspended sentence.

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Prosecutor Aubrey Sampson said that at approximately 12.15am on May 2 last year, the man was sitting on the sofa when he heard the sound of glass being smashed followed by banging on the front door. He ran to the back garden before seeing Randall entering the house.

“The defendant was saying: “Come on, you f******”. The defendant entered the victim’s property, went into the living area and was smashing up the place. He then went from room to room and continued smashing it up,” Mr Sampson said.

A neighbour called the police and Randell was arrested shortly after. In a police interview he said he had been to the pub where he got involved in a brawl.

He said he had recently split up with his partner and was drinking more than normal. He added that he knew the victim since he had left school and confirmed he didn’t hold a grudge against him.

“The defendant said he doesn’t remember what happened and didn’t understand how he got on that road,” the prosecutor said.

In a redacted statement, the man said he did not want Randell to go to prison as it would ‘mess him up’ and ‘do more harm than good’. “I believe this will have further impact upon him,” he said.

“He had drunk quite a lot of alcohol when this occurred, and I believe that was one of the factors of the incident. I also believe my son had assaulted Gary earlier that day.

“There are no ongoing issues between us. Gary’s dad has since paid me £1,000 for the damage caused. This has had no impact on my life.”

Randell was said to have previous convictions from a number of years ago, none of which were related.

Mitigating, his defence barrister Neil Ronan said his client had real and genuine remorse. “He was somebody who had recently broken up with his long term partner, he didn’t know what was going to happen in his life and he had been assaulted earlier that day. It was not an easy time,” he said.

“Apart from his incident he has led a law-abiding life.”

Sentencing, Recorder Julian Taylor said: “This is an unusual case. People who break into other peoples homes and smash the place up can normally expect to go to prison for a long period of time.

“Your case is rather different – you had not intended to cause aggression towards him, you were not breaking in to steal property from it. I accept you are sorry.”

Randell, of Appletree Way, was sentenced to eight month imprisonment which was suspended for 12 months, a three month electronically monitored curfew and 100 hours of unpaid work.

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