Published: 12:20, 23 February 2018
A bully who trashed his ex-partner’s caravan and attacked her has been jailed for two years.
Matthew Gillett left holes in the roof and the floor and damaged the walls, causing about £13,000 worth of damage and rendering the caravan unrepairable.
Victim Amy Baker was forced to sell her home to pay off the loan remaining on the caravan in Eastchurch and is now living in rented accommodation.
The sentence came on the day new sentencing guidelines were published, stating domestic abuse should be punished more severely.
A judge told Gillett: “This is not just criminal damage to a caravan, it is a calculated course of conduct directed towards Miss Baker, intended to reduce the quality of her life, to impose a burden and punishment more than the loss of a comfortable holiday home.”
The 37-year-old construction boss, of Hainault Avenue, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, admitted common assault and criminal damage.
A five-year restraining order was made banning him from going to Miss Baker’s home in Rochester and her mother’s home in Cliffe and having any contact with either of them.
Maidstone Crown Court heard Gillett had in March 2016 ripped the internet router off the wall in the caravan at Shurland Dale Holiday Park after raging that Miss Baker’s daughter was always on her iPad.
He threw the router and it hit a car seat where the couple’s young daughter was sitting. She was unhurt.
The following month, Gillett was drinking in the club there with friends while Miss Baker cooked a meal. When he was late, she walked into the bar, tapped him on the head and told him his food was ready.
He returned to the caravan angry, telling the victim she had embarrassed him in front of his friends. He then punched her while holding keys in his hand.
Afterwards, she told him to leave and decided to sell the caravan, bought for £15,000. She arranged for the site owners to buy it back.
But in May she returned to it and discovered Gillett had trashed it. He said it belonged to him, although technically it was in Miss Baker’s name because he was unable to get credit. The liability was, therefore, hers.
Gillett was said to have 19 previous court appearances for 44 offences.
Mike Hollis, defending, submitted a suspended sentence could be imposed. If sent to jail, he said, Gillett would not be able to support his new partner and child and six employees of his construction company would lose their jobs.
Judge Julian Smith said the offences reflected a course of conduct. Gillett had sent the victim “grotesque” messages. About £13,000 worth of damage was caused.
He had been given a community order for previously assaulting Miss Baker, but his performance in relation to it was appalling, said the judge.
“I regret to tell you a suspended sentence is not possible,” he added. “This is a domestic violence case.”
Gillett was jailed for two years for the offences and one month consecutive for breaching the previous assault offence.
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