Dinner clean up rampage

By Court Reporter

An outburst of violence on being asked to help clean up after dinner saw a 37-year-old man dousing himself with petrol and barking like a dog.

Ashley John Cleeve appeared before Judge David Cameron in the Whanganui District Court yesterday for sentencing on six charges relating to the rampage in July this year.

It took place at a property he and his partner of a year were renting, in front of her two children and the couple's three-and-a-half-month-old son.

According to the summary of facts read by Judge Cameron, Cleeve became enraged after he was asked to clean up after dinner on July 18 and began throwing various household items around, before attacking his partner and kicking a hole in the wooden cot his son was sleeping in.

Cleeve then went to the back garden and dragged a pit bull terrier around by its lead and threw it against a tree.

Then, having collected a knife set from the kitchen, Cleeve headed outside, where he tipped petrol over his head, barked like a dog and threatened to set fire to the house.

The next day, Cleeve returned to the property when no one was home, broke in and vandalised a free-standing fireplace and the garage.

He admitted charges of assault with intent to injure, assault on a child, threatening to do grievous bodily harm, ill-treatment of an animal, committing a threatening act and wilful damage, following an earlier sentence indication hearing.

Cleeve's lawyer, Richard Leith, said his client conceded his propensity to violence had led to the incident and he was undertaking an anger management course.

Mr Leith sought a sentence of six months' home detention for Cleeve.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Rachel Willemsen said the nature of Cleeve's offending would generally point to imprisonment.

However, she acknowledged his favourable probation report supported a non-prison sentence.

Judge Cameron said the victim had not required hospital treatment as a result of the attack but that did not minimise the ugly and traumatic nature of the incident nor the fact it occurred in front of children.

Cleeve was sentenced on all charges bar wilful damage to seven months' home detention and 120 hours' community work.

On one count of wilful damage, he was ordered to pay $1385 reparation.

Cleeve, a beneficiary, will serve his home detention at a Gonville address.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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