Norwich man used hammer to break into partner’s home

A man who breached a restraining order by breaking into his partner's home with a hammer has been warned he faces a jail term.

Shaun Snowling, 30, of Beaconsfield Road, off Magdalen Road, Norwich, appeared at Norwich Magistrates' Court yesterday where he pleaded guilty to one charge of harassment, relating to breaching a restraining order, and another of criminal damage to property valued under �5,000, both on March 5.

Phil Charnley, prosecuting, said Snowling and the complainant had been in a relationship for about four years, but split up in August last year following some 'domestic trouble' which resulted in a court case after the defendant had tried to strangle the complainant. A restraining order was put in place prohibiting him from contacting the complainant for two years.

But the court heard Snowling got in touch at Christmas, the couple started talking again and in February the defendant moved back into her Mile Cross property.

Mr Charnley said that on March 3 Snowling, who had been drinking, was asked to leave after a row, but returned the next morning.

He said: 'Her attention was drawn to him in the rear garden by her children, who were in the house at the time.'

Mr Charnley said Snowling, who was drinking a bottle of cider, banged on the door but after failing to get her to open it went to the shed to get a hammer.

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He said the woman returned upstairs with her children and heard 'smashing of the glass from the back door'. He added: 'He was shouting and swearing and she was scared for her safety and that of her children.' Snowling told police he had wanted to talk to her and did not want to hurt anyone.

Ian Fisher, mitigating, said Snowling had taken steps to address the drinking that had landed him with a restraining order in the first place and that the relationship between the couple had revived after Christmas.

Mr Fisher said the night before the offences occurred there had been an argument which led to Snowling being asked to leave. He said he returned the next morning to 'patch things up'. He said: 'His intention wasn't to harm anyone – he didn't harm anyone – there was no attempt on his part to be violent. He wanted to speak to her – he just went about it the wrong way.'

Magistrates adjourned sentencing until Tuesday, March 15 so reports can be made, but warned that custody was an option that had not been dismissed.