Pilot who broke into wife’s home walks free

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - OPINION -

A FOR­MER river­boat pilot who broke into his es­tranged wife’s home and pointed an im­i­ta­tion gun at a po­lice of­fi­cer has been spared jail.

Phillip Laity was told by a judge he was be­ing given a sus­pended sen­tence be­cause it had been al­most three years since the of­fences were com­mit­ted.

Maid­stone Crown Court heard the 46-year-old fa­ther had just re­turned from Aus­tralia when he went to the for­mer mat­ri­mo­nial home in Chest­nut Lane, Park Farm, in July 2004.

Brid­get Todd, pros­e­cut­ing, told the court his wife Zoe was out but her par­ents were in.

Laity rang the door­bell but the cou­ple did not let him in, Miss Todd said.

But from an up­stairs win­dow, they saw him go to his car, take out a rock and use it to smash a win­dow and en­ter the house.

The cou­ple came down­stairs and pleaded with Laity to go, but he was abu­sive and said it was his house, Miss Todd said.

She said Laity grabbed the cou­ple and frog­marched them to the front door, telling them he wanted them out of the house.

He picked up the rock and told them: “Get out of the house or I will smash your heads in.”

Mrs Laity’s mother shouted to neigh­bours to call the po­lice, and PCs Luke Saun­ders and Robert Scott-Mackie ar­rived.

They found Laity in bed, and he shouted: “Get out of my house.”

Bran­dish­ing

The of­fi­cers went down­stairs to try to find a tele­phone num­ber for Mrs Laity.

When PC Scott-Mackie went back up­stairs, he was con­fronted by Laity bran­dish­ing a pis­tol.

“He feared it was real and loaded and would go off,” Miss Todd said.

PC Scott-Mackie pinned Laity to the bed, and PC Saun­ders wrenched the pis­tol from his hand and threw it on the floor.

Laity told them the gun was not real, but PC Scott-Mackie replied: “It looks real.

“How did I know it wasn’t real when you pointed it at me?”

Laity, of Stan­ford House, Sta­tion Road, Rain­ham, ad­mit­ted pos­sess­ing a BB gun with in­tent to cause fear of vi­o­lence and com­mon as­sault.

He was jailed for 48 weeks, sus­pended for two years, and or­dered to pay £165 com­pen­sa­tion to Mrs Laity, now his ex-wife, and £750 court costs.

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