Home hammer attack caution ‘inappropriate’

A former barrister has criticised the criminal justice system after a man who attacked his home with a claw hammer received a police caution.

Peter St John Howe and his wife Louise were spending the first night in their new home in Christopher Court, Sudbury, when the incident took place shortly before 11pm on August 9.

“We had gone to bed early and were sleeping when I heard the most horrendous bang,” said Mr Howe.

“I looked outside and saw a man with a claw hammer, shouting and screaming.”

The man responsible for the attack was neighbour Guy Bradley. He was given a conditional caution by police for the attack – ordering him to pay £2,890 for the repair of the front door and not to contact Mr Howe.

Mr Howe, 73, said the punishment did not fit the crime.

“Our house was attacked in the middle of the night for no good reason,” he said.

“I think in this case a caution was quite inappropriate. This should have been allowed to go before the courts – he could have been sent to prison.”

Mr Howe, who worked as a barrister for more than 20 years and prosecuted for the Crown Prosection Service, said he had spoken with Mr Bradley only once before the attack, when he accidently scratched the downpipe of his house with his car.

“I apologised for that and said I would pay for a new one,” said Mr Howe.

“Ten hours later, he was attacking my door with a hammer. I was very upset and shaken.”

Mr Howe said Mr Bradley could have been charged with attempted burglary or possessing an offensive weapon.

“It was a very unfortunate incident,” he said. “We now want to get on with our lives.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Police said the crime had been investigated by officers, with a caution deemed an “appropriate disposal”.

“If the victim is not happy with the response and wishes to make a complaint, they should make contact with our professional standards department by calling 101,” she said.