Stevenage house crash man jailed

A DRUNKEN man who repeatedly rammed his girlfriend’s house with his car “in an act of rage and revenge”, causing �18,000 worth of structural damage has been jailed.

Geraldine Sheehan had unexpectedly ended her four-year relationship with Robert Buckley, 45, that morning.

The shocked former Network Rail office worker went to the pub and drank seven pints of lager before returning to the house in Denton Road, Stevenage, a court was told.

“He drove his own Vauxhall Vectra up the driveway into the house itself. He crashed into it, causing a lot of damage when Miss Sheehan was inside at the time,” said prosecutor Laura Blackband at Cambridge Crown Court on Friday.

He also reversed and rammed it again twice before getting out and staggering up the road.

The court heard that the wall of the house cracked and the door frame shook in the incident on January 10.

Although Buckley claimed he was only trying to harm himself, the judge said she didn’t accept that.

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“You could have thought of several other ways to harm yourself which didn’t put at risk the property and others. I take the view that this was an act of rage and revenge, made in drink because your ex-partner had ended your relationship,” said Recorder Angela Rafferty.

She jailed Buckley, of Elm Walk, Stevenage for nine months.

He had pleaded guilty to criminal damage and failing to provide a breath specimen.

The court heard that the couple were now back together and that Miss Sheehan had visited Buckley while he was on remand in prison.

Defending, Beth Heaton said Buckley was made redundant last year from his post with Network Rail after 25 years service and was unable to find another job. Miss Sheehan had suffered a stroke in November and he was caring for her.

“The defendant was at home that morning with his partner,” she said. “As far as he was concerned it was a stable and happy relationship. What happened that morning came as a shock to him.

“His partner had been through two dramatic events in the build up - she had lost her son at 35 in a car accident and in November 2010 had suffered a stroke which left her with a brain injury.

“Buckley felt responsible for caring for her and couldn’t understand why on that morning she decided to end their relationship. It simply made no sense to him. He assumed she simply was not coping.

“On hearing her rejection of him he left the house and drank seven pints of Fosters in the pub. He describes himself as a desperate man, lost and confused, in a state of severe shock.”

He returned about 6pm to collect his belongings, there were no lights on and he thought the house was empty.

“As he approached it he had overwhelming feelings of self-harm and decided to get into his car and reverse it into the house,” said Miss Heaton.

“He doesn’t know why he did it, it was a spur of the moment thing. He didn’t think anyone was inside or he wouldn’t have done it. His intention was to harm himself, not anyone else.”

She added that Buckley had been diagnosed with moderate depressive disorder and was devastated at what he had done.

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