Grantham court: Drunk man made advances on 13-year-old

Court news
Court news

Magistrates heard how an engaged man drunkenly went into a house in Billingborough and made inappropriate suggestions to a 13-year-old, including marriage.

Darren Alfred Smith, 38, now of London Road, Spalding, but formerly of Billingborough, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault by beating and one of criminal damage when he appeared before Grantham magistrates on Monday.

Prosecutor Marie Stace described how on October 29, the victims, a man and a 13-year-old, were alarmed when Smith appeared at their front door, despite them barely knowing him. Despite repeated efforts to get him to leave, because they didn’t understand what he wanted, Smith kept coming back to the property. When the resident attempted to secure the front gate against him, Smith grabbed his wrist and smashed it against the wood.

Smith also pulled the fence out of the ground, before entering the property and grabbing the other man by the throat, pinning him against the family’s fridge. During the scuffle a glass bowl was also smashed, which along with the gate formed part of the criminal damage charge.

Smith did let go of the resident but ordered the pair to sit down at the kitchen table, with the defendant taking a seat next to the teenager and keeping hold of her arm. In her account, read out to the court by Miss Stace, the 13-year-old recounted how Smith had said: “You are a beautiful girl and I want to make you my wife.” He had taken hold of her hand and asked if she would move it to her breast. When she said ‘no’, Smith left the property.

The male resident said in his statement to police that he had been scared because Smith was much bigger than him, and that he could smell alcohol on his breath. “I felt like a prisoner in my own home,” he said.

Sonia Bhalla, defending, described the case as “odd”, especially given that her client had no previous convictions. She said that Smith had no recollection at all of the incident, having drunk a few cans of lager and a bottle of whiskey beforehand.

“He is extremely sorry for his actions,” said Miss Bhalla, and produced apology letters that he had written to the victims.

She explained that Smith was registered disabled following a car accident, during which he damaged vertebrae and was sometimes left bed-ridden. She added that he volunteered in the community, and was currently engaged to a lady from Arizona. They had met online and she flew over to attend the court proceedings. However, he was struggling to obtain a visa to join her in the US, and it was this that led him to drink alcohol on the day in question.

Smith was sentenced to a 24-month community order, to include an electronic curfew to remain home from 9pm to 7am. He was ordered to pay £100 in compensation to the teenager, and £75 to the man, with a restraining order imposed, plus costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £60.