Man trashed house after pals refused to lie

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A WIGAN trucker has been caged for trashing the home of former friends after they refused to lie to police for him.

A court heard that Paul Burton went on an orgy of destruction, which rendered his ex-pals’ house uninhabitable, and caused many thousands of pounds worth of damage.

The revenge rampage – which including wrecking the bedroom of one man’s five-year-old daughter – began because John Coulter and Jon Chamberlain refused to give Burton a false alibi after he fled the scene of a crash.

Liverpool Crown Court was told that the 29-year-old, of Shelley Drive, Abram, knew being prosecuted for the collision would see him lose his driver’s licence, so he wanted the friends to back up his claim that the vehicle had been stolen.

They declined, and three months later his employers discovered that, as a result of the incident he had too many points on his licence to drive on the road.

The hearing was told that they generously offered to keep him on, working on forklift trucks instead, but he refused. And instead on that day - September 22 2011 - he decided to seek violent retribution, said prosecutor Harry Pepper.

Burton, who had drunk two litres of cider and was armed with a World War 11 SS butterfly knife, went round to the house in Belmont Avenue, Bickershaw.

Owner Mr Coulter and lodger Jon Chamberlain were out but Burton broke in.

He poured red and white paint around, turned taps on after blocking the overflows, sliced furniture, smashed two television sets, turned on the gas and left food strewn about the kitchen.

Mr Chamberlain’s five-year-old daughter had a bedroom at the house for when she stayed and Burton even smashed that up, pushing over her wardrobe and destroying a TV.

Neighbours alerted police and Burton was stopped nearby carrying a rucksack into which he had put a Playstation and laptop to try to divert suspicion from it being a revenge attack and suggest a burglary instead. The fearsome knife was found in his pocket.

Jailing Burton for two and a half years, Judge David Swift said: “This was a targeted revenge attack, deliberately breaking in and ransacking it. You knew, and intended the occupiers, would suffer adverse consequences.

“No room escaped your attention and the emotional impact upon those whose home you attacked was very great.”

The court heard that Burton caused £8,500 in damages to the three-bedroomed semi-detached house and the occupants were unable to live there for some time.

Burton had pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary.

Steven Swift, defending, said that the incident had spiralled from the motoring incident.

He added: “On the day of the offence he had just lost his job. He drank two litres of cider and with no logical thought he turned his attentions to the home address of both complainants.

“He acted in a manner which was clearly out of character. He has effectively lost everything: he has lost his house, his job and partner and is now claiming medical benefits because of depression.”

Mr Swift added that Burton knew the house would be empty and had no intention of using it to harm anyone.