Drunken dad attacked car while with child

A drunken dad out at midnight carrying his bare-footed and 'not properly dressed' young child smashed the car window of a concerned motorist who offered help.
Burnley Magistrates' CourtBurnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court

Burnley magistrates heard how roofer Liam Ashman (24) who had been seen stumbling around with the youngster, punched the vehicle repeatedly, after victim Heath Stockburn asked him if he wanted a lift.

He later claimed to police the occupants of the car had been staring at him.

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Ashman, of Hodder Street, Burnley, admitted being drunk in charge of a child under seven on Harry Potts Way, in the town and damaging a Vauxhall Zafira to the value of £300, on March 5th.

The defendant was fined £266 and must pay a £30 victim surcharge and £75 compensation.

Prosecutor Miss Parveen Akhtar told the hearing Mr Stockburn was driving on Harry Potts Way, with his mother and friend in his vehicle.

They saw a man they didn’t know, who appeared to be drunk and was stumbling around and carrying a young child. The youngster had bare feet and was not dressed for the weather.

Mr Stockburn asked his mother to call the police.

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Miss Akhtar added: “He slowed his vehicle down and offered Mr Ashman help or even a lift. That was declined.

“He says Mr Ashman started to gesticulate towards him, approached, knocked on the window and shouted ‘come out here, mate.’”

The defendant then went into a takeaway and came out and this time he had no child with him. He punched the passenger side about three times and the window smashed.

“Mr Stockburn drove away. Officers attended and they located Mr Ashman. He was in the takeaway. He was drunk and he was in company with his child.”

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The prosecutor said Ashman owned up to smashing the window, but claimed the people in the car were staring at him. In interview, he continued to make admissions, saying he had kneed the vehicle.

He told police he had been going to buy food.

Miss Akhtar added: “He said he fully accepted he shouldn’t have done what he did.”

The defendant, who wasn’t represented by a solicitor, told the magistrates: “I’m sorry. It was stupid. It won’t happen again.”

Asked if he worked, Ashman said he earned about £250-a-week cash-in-hand roofing and had another cash-in-hand job to fall back on when the weather was bad.

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Bench chairman Mr Paul Wright said the child was not properly dressed for the weather.

He added: “It was a very unpleasant incident and also one which is potentially very harmful for the child, not just physically but potentially mentally as well, to see you behaving in this manner. It adds up to quite a serious event.”