A Hawke's Bay builder has expressed his regret for a smashing spree that broke 20 double-glazed windows in an unfinished house he had been helping to build.
Matthew Harold Healey, 30, pleaded guilty in the Waipukurau District Court on Monday to a charge of wilful damage of Moyrah Ryan Lewis' Otane new-build.
Healey, of Waipawa, had been working at the Higginson St site in the lead-up to Christmas, but a confrontation between him and Lewis led to him being "told where to go".
His defence lawyer told the court that Healey felt at the time he was not going to be paid back the $1900 he was owed for the work.
On December 22, Healey became "extremely intoxicated" and went to the new build about 6.30am.
A summary of facts says he picked up large rocks surrounding the site and threw them at the windows. The noise of the smashing glass alerted neighbours who rung police.
Twenty double-glazed windows were shattered, causing a damage bill Lewis previously estimated to be close to $40,000, before Healey was disturbed and fled the property.
Healey initially denied he was behind the incident in interviews with both police and the Hawke's Bay Today.
On Christmas Eve he told a reporter he had no idea who was behind the window smashing but Lewis and her husband "probably think because they didn't pay us nearly $4000 that we would have been angry enough to do it," the builder said.
Healey was sentenced by Judge Tony Adeane to reparation of $1000, which would cover the insurance excess on the damage.
Speaking to Hawke's Bay Today outside the court house, Healey said he was happy with the verdict and thought it would be a lot worse.
He described his actions as "angry and stupid" and the only reason he did it was because he was not paid for his work and Christmas was coming up.
"I had no money in the bank ... and I had family coming over. I had all these grand plans and then ended up doing nothing over Christmas.
"My brother ended up taking me out for lunch."
"I'm just ready to put this all behind me and get on with things," he said.
Owner Moyrah Ryan Lewis said while she was pleased Healey had been held "accountable", she was surprised a harsher penalty was not handed down.
"I would have liked to have seen him do some community work. I think money is not necessarily the way people learn, sometimes giving back to the community is the way."
She hoped it had taught him a lesson and he wouldn't reoffend again.
"You can't do things that way."
Since her original builders from Tauranga, where Ryan Lewis and her husband moved from, started on the site on January 14, work had moved swiftly, she said.
All windows, and a garage door are expected to be put in this week, securing the property.
Despite the progress, they now anticipate to move in by the end of February - a month later than originally planned.
They have had to move out of their rental property, which came to an end this week - putting their belongings in storage and staying with a friend.
"Now we have got people in helping us, it makes a big difference."