A granddad smashed up a car before plowing another one into a wall.
Jay Gittens was high on drugs when he caused thousands of pounds’ worth of damage to a vehicle in Ely before getting in his partner’s car without her permission and crashing it into a garden wall. The 47-year-old appeared at Cardiff Crown Court on Thursday for sentencing – arriving several minutes late.
The hearing started with Gittens’ barrister Heath Edwards apologizing for his client’s failure to turn up on time. “They have closed off many of the roads where people would normally park and it took his daughter far longer to park than expected,” said Mr Edwards.
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Prosecutor Tom Stanway said Ely resident Clive Stevens was woken at 6.30am on June 22, 2020 by the sound of the defendant’s vandalism. Gittens smashed the driver window and front windscreen of Mr Stevens’ Mercedes, as well as denting the front bumper, causing £4,500 worth of damage.
As Gittens drove off in his partner’s white Ford EcoSport, Mr Stevens ran out of the house to pursue him. The defendant then got out of the Ford and approached Mr Stevens.
“It was plain at that stage that he was under the influence of controlled drugs,” said Mr Stanway. “The defendant got back in the white vehicle and drove away in what Mr Stevens described as an extremely erratic manner. As soon as he began driving away, he couldn’t keep the vehicle in a straight line, swerving it all over the road.
“Mr Stevens was concerned the defendant would crash into parked vehicles on the side of the road. He saw the defendant accelerate away from him onto Red House Road and go straight across the junction with Archer Road. Mr Stevens noted that if there had been a car coming down Archer Road, the defendant would have killed the people in it. He watched the defendant crash the vehicle into a garden wall.”
(Image: Conor Gogarty)
Gittens caused £1,630 worth of damage to the wall and the front garden. Mr Stevens said if anyone had been on the pavement or in the garden they would have been killed.
The defendant ran from the accident before being arrested weeks later. He initially denied he was the culprit but his DNA was found on the airbag of the Ford. In his victim statement Mr Stevens said the unprovoked vandalism had caused him “great stress”.
Gittens, of Ethel Street in Canton, Cardiff, pleaded guilty to criminal damage, vehicle-taking and dangerous driving. He has 17 previous convictions for 40 offenses including dangerous driving, threats to damage property and drug offenses.
Mr Edwards said his client accepts his behavior was “absurd” and that he had “let everyone down”. The barrister added: “He regrets what he did ‘big-time’, as he put it in the pre-sentence report. He realizes he has put in jeopardy the better interests of so many he loves. At the back of the court you will see a young lady. The defendant’s daughter is 24 years of age and she is deeply anxious about the predicament he has put himself in.”
The barrister argued Gittens, a dad-of-two and granddad-of-one, would benefit from a curfew and “thinking skills” training rather than a jail term. He said the defendant has found a stable home and deserves “one final chance to avoid custody”.
Passing sentence recorder John Philpotts said: “I have no doubt you posed a potentially serious risk to anyone unfortunate enough to cross your path that morning. You could not complain if I sent you to prison today but I have been persuaded by your advocate to follow the proposal of the pre-sentence report. You only get one shot at this.”
Gittens must complete a two-year community order with 20 days of rehab activity and a three-month curfew from 7pm to 7am. He will be banned from driving for 18 months and must pay £500 in prosecution costs.
Asked the defendant’s means, Mr Edwards said: “He has been out of work for a significant period of time due to a serious back injury. He is entirely reliant on state benefits.”
Recorder Philpotts said: “It’s impossible [to impose compensation] on his means. I must leave the unfortunate victim of this man’s offense to pursue whatever route they can.” You can get more court updates by subscribing to our newsletters here.
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