A 24-year-old man who assaulted his grandparents and spat at their tortoise has been jailed.
Levi Robert Iles appeared at Swindon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (25 August) to be sentenced for a plethora of violent offences he admitted last month, on 27 July.
Prosecutor Kate Prince said the defendant, who joined the court via video link from Bullingdon Prison, had been living with his grandparents – who are aged in their 60s – in Gorse Hill.
On 26 January this year, the police responded to a 999 call from his grandma who reported that he was damaging her property. The emergency call was dropped after she said: “Sorry I’ve got to go, he’s coming”.
After grabbing his grandma by the throat and spitting in her face, he took his grandad’s car and fled the area. When officers arrived nine minutes later, they found a small bag of cocaine as well as extensive damage throughout the house.
A short time later, Iles – still driving his grandad’s Skoda Octavia – crashed into a parked vehicle in Beatrice Street before failing to stop at the scene.
His grandma, in a statement to the police, said that the defendant’s behaviour was “changing rapidly” due to alcohol and drug use. She said that it was ruining her life and she no longer wanted him living there.
Iles was arrested and later released on conditional bail. He was banned from contacting his grandparents, but he went back to live with them.
On 25 July, his grandparents were in the garden at around midday when Iles appeared holding a knife. Ms Prince said they were surprised because they usually locked away sharp objects.
He was shouting and swearing at them before walking over to the garage and smashing a window. He went on to tip the contents of a bin across the lawn and threatened to kill himself with the washing line.
He put the knife towards his grandma before walking over to their pet tortoise. He kicked its cage before picking it up and looking as if he was going to throw it. Instead, he put it upside down on the ground and spat on it.
Iles continued shouting and swearing – before whacking his grandad between his shoulder blades.
Later that day, at around 9pm, the defendant could be heard arguing with himself in his bedroom. A neighbour visited the house to complain about the noise, and Iles ripped a door off its hinges before throwing a TV on the floor.
He went on to tell his grandma: “Come and tidy my room you lazy b**ch”.
Moments later Iles burst in and placed his hands around her throat, squeezing hard for a matter of seconds. He grabbed it again and repeated, before pushing her with force – causing her to fall against the wall. He then punched his grandad in the stomach.
The court heard that the defendant, who gave his care-of address as Addison Crescent, Swindon, was handed a community order for making threats to commit criminal damage in 2021.
Throughout the hearing, Iles could be seen and heard sobbing over the video link – wiping streams of tears from his eyes with his t-shirt.
Iles fell to be sentenced for five assaults, two counts of criminal damage, aggravated vehicle taking, failing to stop at the scene of a road traffic collision, failing to report a road traffic collision, driving without insurance and driving without a licence.
Mark Glendenning, defending, said his client was “absolutely appalled at himself and his behaviour”.
Adding that alcohol and drugs changed his behaviour and caused him to have no regard for anyone. He said Iles wishes to offer his “profound apologies” to his grandparents and hopes to rebuild their relationship in the future.
Mr Glendenning asked the magistrates to suspend the prison term, suggesting that his client could better address his issues within the community.
He added that the defendant is “finding it difficult in prison”, is vulnerable and is struggling with his mental health, suffering at the hands of others in the prison as a result.
The bench imposed a 10-month prison sentence due to the crimes being committed against vulnerable individuals in a domestic setting and while on a community order.
He was also disqualified from driving for 17 months and told to pay a £156 surcharge.
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