A MAN who wrecked his neighbour’s garden memorial to her young child before punching her in the face twice has been spared jail.

Dean Wilson, 37, appeared before magistrates at Newton Aycliffe this morning (Wednesday, October 14) where his behaviour was deemed “deplorable.”

The court heard that he entered his neighbour’s garden without permission and destroyed flowers and ornaments before he was confronted and became violent.

Alan Davison, prosecuting, said: “The victim has a memorial element to her garden in memory of her mother and her child who died at a very early age.

“On June 19 she described looking out of her window and seeing the defendant in the garden causing damage to this area.

“She valued it at around £100 but said the real value was sentimental.

“Her and her partner made their way to the front garden and challenged Mr Wilson and he punched her twice in the face.

“Police attended and saw him outside of the home address, he refused to be arrested and when police tried to handcuff him there was a struggle.

“He kicked a female officer in the lower leg and then headbutted her.

“Another male officer moved in to assist and the defendant spat at him and scratched his arm leaving marks.”

Mr Davison said Wilson was interviewed by police and admitted going into the garden and damaging the memorial.

He added: “He told police he did it because other neighbours did not like the memorial and they were taking it out on him. He also accepted beating the woman in the garden.”

The victim said in a statement that she feels scared to leave her home now and is worried about repercussions following the incident.

Wilson, of Fir Tree, Shildon, pleaded guilty to criminal damage, assault by beating and two counts of beating an emergency worker.

David Smith, mitigating on behalf of Wilson, said it was an isolated incident and there had been no problems since.

He said: “He is not a heavily convicted man, he has one dissimilar conviction of a non-serious nature dating back some years now.

“He does accept that his behaviour was clearly unacceptable.”

Beverly Dodds, chair of the bench, told Wilson: “We have listened to everything that has been said but this was a horrible incident.

“Everything was of sentimental value and I think it is a deplorable thing to do to your neighbour.

“And it is exacerbated by the assault on the police officers. Totally unacceptable behaviour.”

Wilson was sentenced to 40 weeks in prison suspended for 18 months.

He was also ordered to pay £150 compensation to each police officer and £250 compensation to his neighbour.