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Man admits torching bus shelter and attacking shopper outside Co-op

The bus shelter in Wickham Market was destroyed by fire  Picture: JULIAN EVANS

The bus shelter in Wickham Market was destroyed by fire Picture: JULIAN EVANS

Julian Evans

A man who went on the 'rampage' round a Suffolk village has admitted burning down a bus shelter and using a shopping basket to launch an unprovoked assault.

Guests gather to see the opening of a new bus shelter in Wickham Market  Picture: BRYAN HALLGuests gather to see the opening of a new bus shelter in Wickham Market Picture: BRYAN HALL

Kurtis Gardiner pleaded guilty to arson, three counts of criminal damage and causing actual bodily harm at Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old was said to be going through a mental health crisis when he set light to a bus shelter, broke a flagpole and damaged other property in Wickham Market, near Woodbridge, last summer.

Prosecutor Ian Devine said Gardiner had been drinking before going on a "mini rampage" on the evening of July 9.

The vandalism spree began when Gardiner stood on a plant pot and attempted to tear down a flag flying outside dental practice.

After yanking a satellite television cable from the wall of a nearby property and breaking the wing mirror of a car, Gardiner used a cigarette lighter to set fire to the bus shelter on Market Hill - causing £13,473.90 of damage.

The following day, Gardiner, of Montagu Drive, Saxmundham, attacked on a man outside the Co-op in Woodbridge.

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Mr Devine said: "The defendant was with a female who told him the gentleman had molested her nine-year-old son. In truth, if anything happened, it was that he simply told the boy off for cycling in an inappropriate manner.

"Mr Gardiner waited outside with a black plastic shopping basket, which he swung into the victim's face, before pushing him into a trolley shelter and punching him in the face.

"He was left bleeding heavily and required medical treatment for facial injuries.

"This was a totally unprovoked attack on someone who had done nothing but go shopping."

John Hughes, mitigating, said Gardiner was in the middle of a mental health crisis at the time.

"His family had been trying to get assistance for him. He had difficulties for a number of years, but authorities were not forthcoming.

"Once he started drinking, when also taking medication, it had this effect. He had deteriorated quite significantly."

Mr Hughes asked magistrates to order a psychiatric review as part of a pre-sentence report ahead of Gardnier's next hearing.

He was released on unconditional bail until a date to be fixed at crown court.

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