Family ‘put through hell’ after six years of damage to cars by neighbour

Michael Steward, 65, of Constitution Hill, Norwich, has been sentenced following six years of crimin

Michael Steward, 65, of Constitution Hill, Norwich, has been sentenced following six years of criminal damage to his neighbour's property. Picture: Norfolk Constabularly - Credit: Archant

A man says his family has been put through six years of hell by a neighbour with a “hateful vendetta” who caused £36,000 worth of damage to their cars.

Michael Steward, 65, of Constitution Hill in Norwich, pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal damage after appearing at Norwich Crown Court on Tuesday, June 2, while asking for 14 others to be taken into consideration.

It comes after a string of incidents which saw Steward repeatedly damage cars belonging to John Huggins, causing roughly £36,000 worth of damage.

The crimes were first reported by Mr Huggins, 66, in 2014 when his Volvo was written off after multiple attacks during one night.

The damage included having sealant foam sprayed into the exhaust pipe, doors being glued shut and car door handles being removed.

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Mr Huggins later replaced the car with a Hyundai I30.

Since then, the attacks have continued, with offensive language sprayed on the family’s front garden wall and back garden fence.

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CCTV footage captured Steward using a saw to carve every panel on the passenger side of the car in the final attack, which was reported to the police in September last year.

Following an investigation in which officers covertly monitored Steward’s movements, he was identified as the main suspect and in a subsequent search of his home, the saw used during the final attack was seized.

Steward was later arrested and questioned and admitted to some of the offences.

Mr Huggins said: “Michael Steward’s hateful vendetta has put our family through six years of hell - we are grateful for the help from the many police officers involved in bringing this person to justice.”

Steward was sentenced to nine months in prison suspended for 18 months. He was ordered to repay £7,800 in compensation.

PC Steve Jones said: “Steward has persistently targeted Mr Huggins and his family over the past six years which has caused a considerable amount of strain on their health and wellbeing.

“They have had to write off two cars due to the extent of damage which has had an immense impact on the family not just financially, but also physically and emotionally.

“We are glad that we could help to provide the Huggins family, who have been incredibly cooperative, with some closure.”

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