Jail for man who drove tractor into home

CHRISTINE CUNNINGHAM A depressed man used a tractor to try to demolish the mobile home of a man he held a long-standing grudge against, a court heard yesterday.

CHRISTINE CUNNINGHAM

A depressed man used a tractor to try to demolish the mobile home of a man he held a long-standing grudge against, a court heard yesterday.

Gerald McHugh, 48, drove the tractor at the home of Philip Rushmer at Manor Farm, Thurlton, as he lay asleep at home with his partner, Norwich Crown Court was told.

Chris Youell, prosecuting, said that McHugh had driven the tractor towards the kitchen and then reversed and tried to ram the wooden construction again, causing £3,650 of damage. He also caused a small amount of damage to a Vauxhall car.

He said McHugh had then driven off in the tractor and was later found a short distance away. When arrested McHugh told police he felt suicidal and had drank and taken valium before taking the tractor and crashing it into the home as he had a long-standing grudge against Mr Rushmer.

McHugh, of Church Farm Cottage, Norton Subcourse, admitted dangerous driving and damaging property reckless as to whether life was endangered on February 22.

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Jailing him for 16 months Judge Simon Barham told him: "Mr Rushmer was asleep, as was his partner, when they were both awoken by the sound of you driving your tractor into the front of their home.

"It was only a matter of a few feet away from them."

He accepted McHugh was depressed at the time and had a grudge against Mr Rushmer but said: "You were taking the law into your own hands."

Michael Clare, mitigating, said: "He accepts full responsibility for what he has done and he is ready to face the music.

"The offence occurred because he was frustrated at what happened to him.

"He is someone of 48 who has never been in trouble in his life."

He said that McHugh had worked as an agricultural subcontractor and had recently had an operation on his shoulder.

He said that McHugh was depressed at the time and had let things get on top of him.

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