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Man chops up vehicle with wife and her boyfriend inside

Man chops up vehicle with wife and her boyfriend inside
Ateba Lockhart pleads guilty to damage of property

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A man who used a cutlass to chop the vehicle of his wife’s boyfriend, when his wife and boyfriend were inside of it, has been ordered to pay for the damage caused.

Ateba Lockhart, a 36-year-old self-employed resident of Rose Place, was charged with damage to property, of the front and rear windscreen of motor vehicle HL613. The damage to the vehicle owned by Junior Lewis of Belair was estimated at $3299.

On October 5, Lockhart entered a guilty plea at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court, for the April 18, 2020 offence.

The information is that Lewis is in a relationship with the defendant’s wife, who he is separated from. Lockhart and his wife have two children together.

On the Saturday in question, in the early afternoon, Lewis was in Middle Street, Kingstown, with his girlfriend, to pick up the children. Lockhart and his wife got into an altercation, at which point Lewis said he had to push him away from hitting her.

The wife got into the car, and Lewis was able to lock the doors and close the windows. At that time, the defendant ran for a cutlass and began to chop Lewis’ vehicle. As a result he broke the windscreen, and then went to the front of the car, and chopped it again.

Lockhart was later picked up by the police, to whom a report was made, and he gave a statement admitting to the offence.

“This is a very serious matter because although you chopped the car, those chops were not meant for the car,” the magistrate voiced after hearing the facts.

The defendant told the magistrate that he did not assault anyone, “all I do is take out my four-year-old son out the car.” When he went to take his son out of the car, his wife’s boyfriend, he said, came around the car, and raised his hand over him. Lockhart claimed that he tried to hit him with his son in his hand, and so he ended up running under his arm.

He mentioned that there was an incident before this involving the three of them in Montrose.

“I all time hold that inside ah me,” Lockhart said, and when he returned to the scene after running away from it, he saw the car reversing. In retrospect, the defendant believes that it may not have been him the car was reversing on, but that it was simply in reverse.

However, seeing the vehicle in reverse, he struck out, and damaged the screen.

“Hold on, strike with what?,” the magistrate asked him, and he answered that it was a cutlass.

“What were you doing with a cutlass…?” Burnett questioned, to which Lockhart replied that it was a lady in the market who had the cutlass.

“What did you hope to achieve by damaging the vehicle?”, was the next question, to which the defendant replied “It wasn’t a thinking moment.”

“When I reach there I just see the vehicle coming back and coming back ‘pon me,” and he reacted, Lockhart contended.

“It wasn’t that I have intention to chop the car,” he stated, and saying that he ran for something to protect himself knowing that the lady would have it.

He and his wife are currently in a legal tangle, with custody, and other orders in the mix from the court.

“…Husband and wife and new boyfriend…these are complex things you know,” the judicial officer mused after listening to the defendant speak about his and his wife’s issues.

“It’s a complex thing. Sometimes the court can’t fix these things, the parties themselves have to fix them,” he stated, and that the issue before him was damage to property.

“This man is calling her wife still, and technically he’s right because until the court dissolves the marriage…” he noted, advising that perhaps there needs to be a divorce.

Lewis informed that the wife has talked to a lawyer to divorce Lockhart.

“This thing going to get out of hand you know,” the magistrate told them.

The wife’s boyfriend contended that the defendant was lying, and that he had come into town with the intention of doing them something. He said they had a “scrambling”, because Lockhart tried to push his body in the car.

Suddenly, Lewis said, Lockhart ran for a cutlass, and started chopping. The people at the side of the road had alerted them, and told them to go in the car.

“His daughter was in the back of the car when he lick out the windscreen and his son was in the front with the mother,” when he chopped the front, Lewis contended.

“He tried to break my window but it didn’t break. He come with intention of damaging me or somebody,” the Belair man concluded, adding that they try their best but he always comes for him.

“It is possible that those chops were meant not for a vehicle,” Burnett stated, “because I don’t understand this type of conduct at all. When you chop with a cutlass, you are to expect a certain outcome.”

Lewis said he had to take out a loan to fix his vehicle, but Lockhart revealed that he didn’t have the money to pay compensation at the time.

“I will be satisfied if you send this man to jail,” and he would cut his losses for the damage, Lewis stated.

“…No matter what the matter is, they want the magistrate to bring down on them the sledge hammer the first time.

That’s what complainants seem to want from time to time…but the court can’t function like that,” the magistrate mused.

“I have to run a reasonable court,” he noted, and that the most appropriate sentence in the case, in his view, was compensation.

Compensation by December 17, failing which a four-month prison term must be served, was the final sentence.

Additionally, a bond has been imposed for one year, in the sum of $2500. If Lockhart breaches the bond this should be paid forthwith or there will be a nine month prison sentence.

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