Published: 00:01, 29 August 2014 |
Updated: 10:47, 29 August 2014
For 42 years, Martin Solomon lived a law-abiding life... and then he discovered legal highs and unwisely became addicted.
And, in the space of a few months, his daily cocktail of highs and cannabis led him to committing a series of bizarre offences - including burning his wife's favourite teddy bear on an oven.
Now a judge at Canterbury Crown Court has sent Solomon, of Acol Hill, Birchington to a hospital for mental health treatment.
The case comes amid the KM Group's High Time campaign to crack down on the menace of legal highs - after it was revealed the county has more shops selling the substances than anywhere else in Britain.
Solomon's bizarre offending after taking legal highs included:
Judge James O'Mahony said: "He is a man who clearly has problems, some of them self-induced, by taking legal highs or something."
Solomon, who admitted five charges of common assault, damaging property and harassment, arrived at court in the company of a mental health nurse and his loyal wife Joanne.
His barrister Paul Hogben told the judge: "This is a sad case because this gentleman has led a law-abiding life. He then ran into a very difficult period in his life - there were personal reasons.
"He then made the mistake of using legal highs without realising just what effect they might have upon him.
"He is a gentleman who had a mild form of autism and was easily led into it and saw it as a refuge. He now realises that this has been a very important lesson to him."
Prosecutor Lucy Luttman outlined the breakdown brought about by his addiction – and which led to Mrs Solomon making a complaint to police on March 6 this year.
She said: "That complaint was about domestic violence at the hands of the defendant. They had moved from Canterbury 18 months earlier.
"And at that point, the defendant had started taking large amounts of cannabis and legal highs, leading to very erratic behaviour and mood swings. He had become abusive and controlling."
The prosecutor told how on one occasion, Solomon walked into his wife's bedroom and stole her teddy bear while she was sleeping.
"She suffers from Multiple Sclerosis and he grabbed her hair and took the teddy bear," said the prosecutor. "He went down to the kitchen and put it on the lit hob and burned it.
"Although there was no particular financial value there was substantial sentimental value."
A couple of days later, Solomon was standing next to his wife and raised his fist before scraping his hand down her face while wearing a ring, leaving her with a sore face.
Ms Luttman told how the drug-user then turned his attentions towards a cashier at a local bank in Margate.
She said: "He became fixated with her, and during a six-week period attended the bank at least twice a week, originally on legitimate banking business.
"However, he became more and more obsessive with her and would not see anyone else and began telling her exaggerated stories about his life with celebrities."
The judge said: "That's very disturbing and worrying for someone (the cashier) in that position."
The prosecutor added: "And it took a far more sinister turn in early April when he turned up at the bank with gifts for her.
"She thought he must have overheard a discussion she had with someone else that she was a keen horsewoman."
The victim refused the gifts, but Solomon just left the gear - returning a few days later only to discover she was away on annual leave.
Ms Luttman said: "At that, he threw himself on the floor of the bank and openly wept. She returned two days later and he returned with more gifts, a horse T-shirt and two key rings.
"And when she took them out of politeness, he just stood there for an inordinate amount of time before asking if they could spend the day together.
"Now you have gone seriously off the rails, so you had better not take any more highs again - legal or illegal. You made that cashier's life miserable and terrified..." - Judge James O'Mahony
"She pointedly told him no and he became increasingly angry, demanding to know her surname. When she declined he shouted: 'Do as you are f****** told , I'm God!' and told her she was going to die.
"The next day he returned and went to the employee and demanded cash from his own account and when she asked for identity, he replied: 'Do as you are f****** told' before pacing up and down mumbling incoherently to himself.
"To calm him down she handed over the money and he then erupted and he told her she would pay for turning him down."
Solomon then made threats of rape and murder and told his terrified victim "she would be the next Peaches Geldof and said she should sleep with one eye open".
The druggie then claimed to know where she lived and where her horses were stabled and threatened to take out the eyes of her animals and cut them.
The prosecutor said he then went to another store and threatened to kill a female employee after she refused to give him cigarette papers.
Don't miss out, subscribe today. Keep up to date with our newsletters.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Find out what's going on in the garden, with Kent expert Lucy Hewett's weekly update.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.