Man wrote off bailiff's car because he thought he was a hitman
- Credit: Chris Bishop
A bailiff’s car was written off when it was rammed by a man who feared the owner was a “hitman”.
Only days beforehand, James Tribe had been threatened by someone reported to police for allegedly burgling his son’s home, King's Lynn magistrates heard on Thursday.
So when the bailiff, who was “dressed as a commando”, pulled on to Tribe’s driveway in Church Road, Emneth, behind him, Tribe “panicked” and feared it was linked to that incident.
Prosecutor Morgan-Rose McGinn said bailiff Joel Moore had activated his body-worn camera after arriving in his Seat Leon and was still in his car when he said his usual greeting of “hey buddy”.
She added: “Mr Tribe, who was standing next to a black Bentley, was immediately aggressive and said: ‘Leave the driveway now or I’m going to reverse it into you'.
“Before being able to do so, Mr Tribe reverse-rammed Mr Moore’s car, causing significant damage to the front end.”
Miss McGinn said the bailiff was in fear of his life and thought there were other men in the back of the Bentley.
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A victim personal statement read to the court said the incident had had a significant impact on Mr Moore’s personal and work life.
He said he used to be a lot more relaxed and when he sees a similar 4x4 vehicle it triggers flashbacks of the ramming incident.
The Leon, worth £9,994, was written off with Mr Moore having to pay £425 insurance excess. Tribe admitted causing criminal damage on May 20.
Tim Bartlam, for Tribe, said his client had been advised by police to stay away from his home after someone known by officers to be “dangerous” had driven over his foot on his property and made threats following the burglary report.
Mr Bartlam added: “Mr Tribe said to me: ‘The last person I thought was on my driveway was a bailiff. And then this car rolls up behind me and the driver was dressed like a hitman.
"The unfortunate Mr Moore arrived in his own car dressed as a commando.
“My client said in interview: ‘I panicked and took the action I did'. The incident lasted a matter of ten or 20 seconds.”
Tribe was given 24 weeks’ custody, suspended for two years, and 160 hours’ unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay compensation of £1,925 to Mr Moore and £128 victim surcharge.