Norwich battleground as laptops are smashed in row

Matthew SparkesA Norwich couple's first home became a battleground after just one month when an argument over housework ended with the destruction of each other's cherished possessions.Matthew Sparkes

A Norwich couple's first home became a battleground after just one month when an argument over housework ended with the destruction of each other's cherished possessions.

Darrell Green and Maxine Debenham had been together for four years when they moved into their first flat in Blue Mills, Bracondale, in January.

Just weeks later it would be the site of a chain of retaliation that saw a television knocked over, two laptops thrown on the floor, one mobile phone dropped deliberately into a glass of water, one cut with a kitchen knife and a photo frame hurled against a wall.

Green, 22, stood charged of assault and criminal damage yesterday at Norwich Magistrates' Court after the incident.

On February 11 he had got an early night because he had to be up at 6am to travel to Cambridge for his job as a biologist.

He was annoyed that Miss Debenham, who works at a horse sanctuary, had gone to the Mischief pub on Magdalen Street with friends and had not done the housework she had promised to do that day.

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The court heard that he sent her texts asking her to come home early so that he would not be woken up late at night.

But ignoring his pleas Miss Debenham had arrived home drunk at 11.30 and an argument over laundry quickly escalated.

Miss Debenham admitted being 'quite a bit tipsy' after drinking vodka for several hours and that the row became so heated that she had raised Green's guitar over her head and smashed it into the floor.

The instrument had been a cherished gift from his father.

Miss Debenham admitted that the pair's four-year relationship had been 'a bit rocky' while she gave evidence yesterday.

She said that she could not remember the whole night and said that she did not recall smashing any more of Green's possessions, although he claimed that she had deliberately damaged a laptop and pushed over a television three times.

She had accused him of shoving her to the ground, pulling her hair.

She also claimed that Green had sliced his thumb while attempting to cut through a mobile phone with a kitchen knife.

Mark Davies, prosecuting, said that Miss Debenham had received a graze on her leg and a bump on the head during the incident.

Green, who represented himself in court denied all claims of violence against Miss Debenham and was acquitted of assault.

However, he pleaded guilty to criminal damage and was ordered to pay a fine of �200 and costs of �85.

He admitted that the incident was 'ridiculous' and 'stupid' and that he regretted his actions. Nigel Stringer, chair of the magistrates, said that a compensation order was 'not appropriate' and added that more weight had been given to Green's version of events because he had been sober.

Speaking at his home yesterday evening Green said that he thought the outcome was unfair.

'I've now got a criminal record,' he said. 'In an ideal world they should have seen this as tit-for-tat.'

'We've now permanently broken up.'

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