Burglar broke into Hartlepool home ‘by mistake’

He appeared at Teesside Crown Court.
He appeared at Teesside Crown Court.

A former commando is facing jail after breaking into a stranger’s home where he thought his ex-girlfriend still lived.

Adam Flounders, 29, who served his country in the elite regiment until being discharged for violence, broke into the home in Clavering Road, Hartlepool at night on November 21.

Teesside Crown Court heard he believed his former girlfriend lived there but, in fact, another woman and her nine-year-old daughter were in the process of moving in.

Flounders, who was believed to have been on drink and drugs, caused about £1,000 of damage to the fixtures and property including sentimental items such as a plaster cast of the victim’s daughter’s handprint.

Prosecutor David Crook said: “The victim of the burglary had rented and was about to move in.

“The defendant had a relationship with a female who previously lived at the address and either in drink or drugs the defendant went to that address.

“Effectively, the property was ransacked and damage caused to a fire.”

The victim was forced to redecorate and buy new blinds that had been spattered with Flounders’ blood during the break in.

In an impact statement the victim said her daughter would not sleep on her own for weeks after the burglary.

She said: “Every little noise made, she woke up crying thinking the man who broke in had come back.”

The victim said how boxes of items had been thrown around the kitchen and living room areas and broken which had been extremely upsetting.

She added: “What should have been a happy time moving into a new home turned into a heartbreaking time.

“The devastation we walked into will always haunt me but most of all my daughter which is unacceptable.”

Flounders at first claimed to police he had gone to investigate a disturbance but later pleaded guilty to burglary with intent to cause damage and damage to property.

He was due to be sentenced yesterday but had to be adjourned for four weeks.

It is said Flounders, of St David’s Close, Billingham, claims suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but there was no independent assessment.

Laurie Scott, mitigating, said: “What he has been doing is he has tried to deal with that himself taking large amounts of alcohol and tramadol.”

Adjourning sentence until September 20, Judge Howard Crowson said: “It’s a serious case. This type of offence usually merits prison.

“On the other hand people are suggesting there may be things behind your behaviour and might be a medical case.

“I’m surprised there has been no information put before me today in support of it.” Flounders was granted unconditional bail.