No case to answer for East Cambs Tory councillor as her husband admits criminal damage to Range Rover Sport on their way home in Ely
PUBLISHED: 21:09 02 May 2019
The husband of a Tory councillor damaged his neighbours' Range Rover Sport amid a bitter row over on-street parking, a court heard.
Christopher Sennitt, 59, was caught on CCTV causing damage to the parked, three year old Range Rover last August.
The car was owned by brothers Mark and Stewart Smith who found two horizontal scratches on it after they had parked it up outside their home in Ely, Cambs.
The Smiths were able to identify Mr Sennitt from CCTV footage at 10.50pm on August 18 walking past the vehicle with his wife Carol, a local Conservative councillor.
Cambridge magistrates' court heard there had “been issues between them” about parking on the street and they had had a number of exchanges outside the shop the Smith's own.
Prosecutor Robert James said: “As he walks past (Mr Sennitt) he makes contact with the car.
“His right arm was covered with an item of clothing and as a result of the contact he causes damage to the vehicle.
“It shows the action was in one continuous movement.
“This was not a random act.
“Mr Sennitt damaged it because it is the car that belongs to the Smiths.”
In a statement from Stewart Smith read out by prosecutor Robert James he said: “I was extremely upset with what happened to my car.
“It took me a few days to calm down and I am still very angry.
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“It has stopped me going out in the dark because I'm worried about what the offenders will do to me. I'm looking to move due to the hassle we are both getting.
“We have been targeted and I believe we have done nothing wrong.”
In a statement from Mark Smith read out by prosecutor Robert James he said: “I feel anxious about what might happen next”.
Sennitt, a self-employed computer consultant, appeared before magistrates in Cambridge on Wednesday.
He pleaded guilty to the charge “intending to destroy or damage such properly or being reckless as to whether such property would be destroyed or damaged” and was fined.
He was fined £716 for criminal damage, £600 for costs, £71 for surcharge and £1,300 in compensation - a total of £2,867.
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Defence lawyer Declan Gallagher said Mr Sennitt had no other convictions and that it “took a great deal of soul searching to enter his guilty plea”.
He said: “Mr Sennitt has been a man of exemplary character for his whole life and he accepts having to pay the damages to the Smiths.”
Carol Sennitt sits on East Cambridgeshire District Council and was a candidate in today's election.
Originally both Mr and Mrs Sennitt were charged with causing criminal damage to the 2015 Range Rover Sport when they appeared before magistrates in December.
The case against Cllr Sennitt was dropped.