SWINDON’S justice system showed two very different sides this week when a man who launched a violent attack on his girlfriend walked free while another who stripped parts from a stolen van was jailed for 10 months.
The sentences were handed down by two different judges sitting at Swindon Crown Court.
Judge Euan Ambrose jailed Keith Mileham, 31, of The Circle, in Pinehurst, for 10 months after he towed a stolen vehicle to a secluded farm where he and a pal broke it down to sell the component parts.
But the vehicle had been fitted with a GPS tracking device that led the police straight to the men, who were using a cutting torch on the metalwork.
Mileham pleaded guilty to theft. He denied a charge of perverting the course of justice by lying to the police, which was kept on file.
Now the 31-year-old, who has a long history of crime, including pretending to raise cash for Help for Heroes, is behind bars.
Jailing him Judge Ambrose said: “Bought new for £24,000, the van was recovered in a partly-dismantled state.
“There was not only damage to the van by dismantling but the costs of repair, if repair was possible, and also the inevitable loss of use that the business can ill afford.
“The offence, bearing in mind its nature, and your record is clearly so serious only a custodial sentence can be justified.”
In a separate case, heard by Judge Douglas Field, Riccardo Pasqualitto was allowed to walk free from court despite launching a vicious attack on his 5ft 2ins girlfriend.
He had already smashed a wine glass by throwing it at a wall when he picked her up and threw her onto a hard wooden floor.
As she lay in agony, the 35-year-old of Nevis Close, Sparcells, pulled her to her feet. When she collapsed to the floor he accused her of being a “drama queen” and denied that she could have broken her foot.
On realising that she was badly hurt, Pasqualitto moaned: “That’s it. You made me do this.”
At the accident and emergency room in hospital, the doctor was forced to make him leave the cubicle as he tried to prevent his girlfriend from explaining her injury.
Pasqualitto pleaded guilty to a charge of grievous bodily harm.
But after hearing he had no previous convictions for violence and was an integral part in the family business Rapid Hire, Judge Field imposed a 20-month jail term suspended for two years.
Pasqualitto must now complete a “building better relationships” programme, pay £500 in compensation and a £100 victim surcharge.
The court also imposed a five-year restraining order, which bans him from contacting her.
Passing sentence Judge Field said: “I have to decide whether the public interest is best served by you going straight into custody for this serious case of domestic violence.
“Or whether I should suspend this sentence to allow you to receive help and treatment.
“There is just enough in what has been said about you and what I have read in the pre-sentence report to allow me to suspend the sentence.”