Man damaged police cell toilet after "mistaken identity" arrest

A man whose home was targeted by masked men armed with bats found himself in the dock after being arrested and damaging a toilet in a police cell, a court heard.

Thursday, 25th April 2019, 1:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th April 2019, 3:44 pm
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court heard Daniel Ashcroft may have been targeted in a case of “mistaken identity”.

His solicitor Graham Simpson said Ashcroft and his family were subjected to a home invasion by masked men carrying sticks and bats.

In another incident, his car was parked outside his home on Wordsworth Avenue, Leigh, and was rammed by a 4x4 vehicle which was then abandoned.

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Ashcroft, 28, phoned the police - but officers then arrested him for armed robbery, the court heard. Mr Simpson said: “Quite how they arrested him for armed robbery, I don’t know.”

It was while he was in custody at Wigan police station that he damaged a toilet in a cell by kicking it. Steve Woodman, prosecuting, said: “While in a police cell he was caught on CCTV kicking a toilet, causing that toilet to come lose and breaking in the cell. The damage was discovered by officers and had to be repaired, which cost £100.”

Mr Simpson said Ashcroft had become “distressed and upset” after not being prescribed the medication he usually takes at night-time for a mental health condition until the following morning.

He was arrested and admitted causing the damage when interviewed by the police, offering to pay the cost of the repairs. While he had previous convictions for 50 offences, Mr Simpson said Ashcroft had not been before the courts since 2013 and had “effectively turned his life around”.

He was about to take up an offer of employment and hoped to move house.

He did not know why he had been targeted in the incidents and feared his partner and children, aged two and eight, were at risk. Mr Simpson said: “I suspect it’s a case of mistaken identity but you can’t deal rationally with people who make mistakes of that sort, they just carry on.”

Ashcroft was never charged with armed robbery. He pleaded guilty to criminal damage and was ordered to pay £100 compensation.