Man brought tool kit to break into ex-partner’s home, court hears

A man brought a tool kit with him to break into his partner’s home while she was on holiday, a court has heard.

David Starbrook, 36, was arrested after he broke into a property in Ongar where he used to live with his partner on July 16, 2019.

At Chelmsford Crown Court today (April 20), the 36-year-old from Hertfordshire was sentenced for burglary with intent to cause unlawful damage.

During his sentencing, the court heard how Mr Starbrook had arrived at the property with “a toolbox” before forcing his way into the property and damaging several doors.

Prosecuting, Richard Scott QC, told the court that officers were called to the home in Ongar that night at around 11pm with reports of a break-in.

Mr Starbrook had previously been a resident of the premises where he lived with his ex-partner and had forced his way into the property while she had been away on holiday.

“The break up in the relationship had been relatively recent,” Mr Scott said. “But he had returned the keys on July 5 and by July 16 it was well understood that he had no rights of entry and was not a tenant of the property.”

When officers arrived, they found Mr Starbrook outside the home with a tool box which Mr Scott added made it “fairly obvious what he was up to”.

The court heard how the front door and side door had been forced open as well as a glass door inside smashed and forced as well.

Mr Scott added that Mr Starbrook made admissions to the police from the outset and claimed he was there to retrieve property.

When police inspected his bag, pay slips belonging to his ex-partner were found inside.

Check out crime rates where you live:

Mr Scott further told the court that Mr Starbrook went on later in August 2019 to an address in Ongar where he wheel-clamped the car of a relative of his ex-partner’s.

The 36-year-old was not charged for the burglary offence until May 13, 2020 and subsequently pleaded guilty on September 18 to one single count of burglary.

Mitigating for Mr Starbrook, Eleanor Lucas told the court that he was a man of good character at the time of the offence and the wheel-clamping incident was a continuation of the deterioration of the relationship between the defendant and the complainant and her family.

Ms Lucas told the court: “I asked what drove a 34-year-old man at the time of good character to commit an offence and he said he was in the relationship for 15 years which had deteriorated due to family member living with them and it had deteriorated to the extent that family members became involved in the break down of relationship.

“It broke down between all parties to the extent he was receiving unpleasant phone calls and had his own property damaged and at one stage and most upsetting, he was not allowed access to his daughter,” she added.

She further told the court that Mr Starbrook has suffered with depression and anxiety for some time and has been caring for his father.

Judge Simon Mayo QC sentenced Mr Starbrook to a community order of 18 months with a number of requirements.

Sentencing the 36-year-old, Judge Mayo said : “Although you may have had entitlement to the property, you were not entitled to break in.”

The judge took into account Mr Starbrook’s good character, mental health issues and guilty plea entered.

As part of the community order, Mr Starbrook must complete 300 hours of unpaid work and undertake 30 days of rehabilitation.

He must also pay a surcharge and pay £500 towards the costs of the court case.

Essex Live