Man celebrating his 40th jailed after taking car from a party

A man celebrating his 40th birthday has been jailed after taking a vehicle from a party and writing it off.

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 1:06 pm

Joseph Paul Swift took the Vauxhall Astra on the evening of July 31 after noticing the keys to the vehicle on the table at the house gathering, Leeds Crown Court was told.

Robert Galley, prosecuting, said the owner only realised later in the evening that his Astra was missing, but gave Swift until the next day to return it, which he failed to do, so reported it to police.

CCTV from Swift's neighbour was analysed and caught the 40-year-old arriving home in the Astra early the next morning.

Leeds Crown Court.

When he was arrested, he denied stealing the Astra but said he was taking it to be repaired.

The windscreen was smashed which Swift took responsibility for, but because of the age of the car, it was not financially viable to repair it so the owner was forced to write it off.

Three days later, after being released on bail, Swift was seen outside his neighbour's home throwing glass bottles at her property and shouting at her.

She believed it was because she had assisted the police in having him arrested.

He denied this, and put it down to a long-running feud between the pair rather than revenge for the police taking her CCTV footage.

Swift, of Teall Street, Ossett, denied charges of theft of a car, intimidating a witness and affray as he appeared via video link in court while being held on remand at HMP Hull.

However, he admitted taking a vehicle without the owner's consent and a public order offence connected to throwing the glass bottles.

These admissions were accepted by the crown.

The court heard that Swift had an "extensive record" of convictions, including criminal damage, theft of cars and taking vehicles without the owner's consent.

Mitigating, Tom Jackson told the court: "He did take the car and accepts he had it long enough for the complainant to worry about it.

"He accepts throwing the bottles at her house and a degree of name calling, but it was as a result of her dog fouling in his garden and not because she helped the police about the car."

He said that Swift would no longer be living next to the woman on his release.

Sentencing Swift, The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Guy Kearl QC, said: "Your record aggravates your position."

Referring to the bottle-throwing incident, he said: "You went back to her home, I accept you had previous dealings with her and the relationship was a strained one."

He jailed him for three months and handed him a three-year restraining order to keep away from his neighbour.