A trucker who destroyed his ex-girlfriend’s home by reversing his articulated lorry into the front of her house has been jailed for ten years.
Derek Wellington, 34, flew into a drunken rage after his former partner refused to meet him.
He screamed down the phone at her: “I am going to park my lorry in your living room.”
She later spotted Wellington driving past her home in East Kilbride, Lanarkshire.
Sounds described as “like an earthquake” then filled the air as Wellington repeatedly reversed his HGV into her house, completely wrecking it.
The destruction left a £475,000 repair bill with both her and a neighbour losing their homes.
A friend and two children who were inside at the time escaped unhurt.
Wellington, of Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, appeared by video link for sentence at the High Court in Stirling after pleading guilty in Glasgow earlier this month to a string of charges including culpable and reckless endangerment of lives.
He was told by judge Lord Armstrong that as a result of his actions, she had lost the home she had lived in for five years, and its entire £25,000 contents.
Lord Armstrong said that “taking into account the grave consequences” of Wellington’s criminal actions, the number of people affected, the impact on their lives, and the financial loss, he was satisfied there was no appropriate alternative to a custodial sentence.
The court heard that Wellington – who had 24 previous convictions, including several for assault and threatening behaviour – had been on a bail order not to go near the mother-of-two at the time of the incident, on September 6 last year.
The condition had been imposed after he left her needing hospital treatment a month earlier by attacking her at an Edinburgh hotel.
He had headbutted her – whom he had begun dating earlier that year – and dragged her and pinned her against a wall.
Despite the court order, he repeatedly rang her on the day of the lorry rage and begged to meet her.
Lisa Gillespie QC, prosecuting, said Wellington “took umbrage” when she refused, shouting, swearing and calling her obscene names.
Ms Gillespie, the advocate depute, said: “During these calls, he stated he was going to come round and smash or ram his lorry into her home.
“He said he was ‘going to park his lorry’ in her living room.
“She told him under no circumstances was he to come to the house because there were children there.
“He stated he was coming round anyway.”
She tried to calm Wellington by agreeing to meet him on the street nearby.
In panic, she spotted him in his truck around 11pm.
Ms Gillespie said: “She was terrified because of his earlier threats and ran back to her house.
“As she did, she heard a loud banging noise and windows smashing.
“Wellington then drove past her again away from the street.”
She broke down and became hysterical when she found her housing association home “caved in”.
A friend who had been inside at the time had spotted Wellington pull up, straighten his lorry and then reverse “at speed” into the property.
Wellington then repeated the manoeuvre before driving off.
Police arrived to find a scene of destruction, with a number of residents out on the street.
She happened to be on the phone to Wellington when one officer spoke to her.
He was overheard threatening that he was “coming back to finish it”.
The thug added: “I told you I was going to ram it into your house.”
The damaged artic, still with a load of woodchips, was found abandoned in a supermarket car park the next morning with Wellington’s wallet inside.
He was later arrested.
The court heard occupants of seven houses had to be evacuated that night.
Those in four of the properties were later able to return, but the damage to her home and that of her next door neighbour was so bad that they had to be demolished.
Clyde Valley Housing Association ended up with a bill totalling £475,000 due to damage and loss of rental income.
Wellington also pleaded guilty to assaulting her in the Edinburgh incident, breaching bail, assaulting a police officer by spitting, and statutory breach of peace.
Solicitor-advocate Iain Paterson, defending, said Wellington was “remorseful” and had genuinely believed that there was no-one in the house at the time.
He said Wellington had been an HGV driver “for a decade or so” and the incident might mean he could never return to the profession.
He said: “If he could turn back the clock he would.”
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