Angry husband's stable rampage

Burnley Crown Court
Burnley Crown Court

An irate window cleaner turned up at stables armed with weapons and tried to get to his wife's horse as he thought she had been spending too much of their cash on it, a court heard.

Alcoholic father-of-three Adrian Holt, 39, had sped up to the Barden Lane Stables in Burnley in his car and crashed through the gate, with a hammer in one hand and a piece of wood in the other. He then terrified the stallion, Deno, which cowered at the back of it's stable as Holt battered the door with the hammer.

Holt's wife Victoria, who was working at the stables, had feared it could be dangerous if the animal was let loose. She had tried to stop the outburst, but was pushed away. The trouble, which ended when the defendant finally came to his senses, dropped the weapons and drove off, was caught on CCTV. The footage was played at the town's crown court as Holt was sentenced.

The horse was unhurt in the incident, which happened two days after Holt and his wife had rowed after a Saturday night out.

The defendant, of Padiham Road, Burnley, had admitted affray on April 6 and was spared jail, after the probation service suggested he needed support. He was given a 12 month community order with a 40 day rehabilitation activity requirement.

Prosecutor Jacob Dyer told the hearing the Holts had three children. The pair had gone out on April 4 and there had been a fall-out when they came home, having arrived back at different times. They did not see much of each other the next day.

Mrs Holt was working at the stables on April 6 when she received a text message from her husband, which was something to do with the argument. The prosecutor continued :" It's not clear what it was all about. The defendant was obviously very upset and saying he had been pushed too far."

Mr Dyer said after sending the message, Holt attended at the stables at about 3pm. The prosecutor went on :" Mrs Holt saw him arrive in his car. It is shown on the CCTV. He is obviously worked up. He was shouting at her. She followed him. He was going to where one of the horses was and tried to open the bolts on the stable door. It's a stallion and she was concerned about the house being let loose. She indicated he was tying to jump over the stable door. He had brought with him a hammer and a piece of wood and it appeared he was trying to get to the horse. The horse was frightened and went to the back of the stable.

" He used the hammer to hit the stable door. She had hold of him to try and stop him and he pushed her back and she staggered. He then threw the wooden baton, but he didn't hit anybody. He then drove off in his car at speed."

Mr Dyer said the defendant was arrested on April 9 and made no comment when interviewed. Holt had a record going back to 1993, including convictions for affray and a public order offence.

Philip Holden, for Holt, was asked by Judge Andrew Woolman :" What was it all about ?" The barrister told the court :" It was frustration borne of the relationship ending and an argument over that weekend that brought matters to a head."

He continued : Certainly there have been no further incidents. There was a problem. The defendant considered too much of their financial resources were being expended on keeping this horse."

Mr Holden added :" He works on and off as a window cleaner. He says he has been working sporadically because of his alcohol problem."

Passing sentence, the judge told Holt :" It's an unusual offence. There had obviously been some serious problems in your relationship and you were completely overborne by anger, arriving at enormous speed at the stables."

" You went towards where the stallion was but you must have got control of yourself at some point because you put the weapons down and didn't do any damage to the horse. You left not quite in as much of a temper as when you arrived."

Judge Woolman continued :" It's clear you have a problem with alcohol and quite a lot of other problems. I agree the best way to deal with this case is not to imprison you." The judge added :" I trust that this won't happen again."