32-year relationship ends as axeman smashes way into ex's home

Aggressive Scott Lally used an axe to smash his way through a door at his ex's house. The 53-year-old was the subject of a non-molestation order which his partner had taken out against him due to his drunken behaviour.

But he disregarded the order and went to the house and used the weapon to break down the utility room door. Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard the police arrived before he could gain access to the rest of the house but his victim was left feeling petrified.

Now Lally has been sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years. Prosecutor Emily Andrew said the defendant and his victim had been in a relationship for 32 years but the victim says he has struggled with an alcohol addiction for several years.

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That contributed to the breakdown of the relationship and in July last year Lally was made the subject of a 12-month non-molestation order at Stoke-on-Trent Family Court. But on March 5 the victim was woken by banging.

Miss Andrew said: "She saw the defendant on CCTV and informed her neighbour who called the police. She heard him shouting her name. He broke the door to the utility room using an axe. There was another door which allowed full access to the property.

"The police arrived and found the defendant in the utility room. He was told to leave." The court heard the damage to the door cost £1,220.

Lally's victim said the incident petrified her. She said Lally blames her for all his issues. She said he is remorseful when sober. He was doing well but relapsed. She added he needs mental health support.

Lally, of High Street, Talke Pits, pleaded guilty to criminal damage and breaching a non-molestation order.

Martin Bloor, mitigating, said Lally, who has no previous convictions, had spent three months in custody - the equivalent of a six-month sentence. Mr Bloor said: "The behaviour was out of character. He has a history of problems with alcohol. He has done three rehabilitation courses. They had a short-term effect but not a long-term effect."

He said Lally's partner asked him to leave due to his drinking and added he was under the influence of alcohol when he turned up at the property with the axe.

Mr Bloor urged the court to impose a suspended jail sentence. He added: "While in custody he has had an opportunity to reflect on his behaviour and his ongoing problem with alcohol which he needs to address properly."

As part of the suspended sentence Lally must complete a rehabilitation activity requirement for 30 days. Recorder Julian Taylor said: "It is a pity to see someone like you before the court. You reached the age of 53 without any previous convictions.

"You had been drinking. You went to your house and used an axe to enter the property. She was frightened.

"The relationship would appear to be at an end. You need to address this alcohol problem.

"You should be ashamed of your behaviour. I hope you are remorseful for the disgraceful way you behaved."

Lally was ordered to pay £600 compensation. Recorder Taylor ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the axe.

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