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An aristocrat who wrecked his own £1 million house in a spiteful attempt to stop it being sold after his acrimonious divorce is facing a jail sentence.
Desmond Fitzgerald, 63, ripped out radiators and smashed pictures and ornaments with a hammer at the house he shared with his ex-wife, lawyer Catherine Akester, in King’s Cross. He then blocked a sink, flooding the terrace home, Blackfriars crown court heard.
Fitzgerald, whose grandfather was Major General Sir Allan Adair, the 6th Baronet Adair, left behind fingerprints which proved he was responsible for the damage, valued at some £21,000.
However, he tried to claim he had been framed, comparing himself to Theresa May in a rambling defence and likening the supposed “plot” to that of a James Bond film. He was convicted of criminal damage by a jury last month and was told that jail is “inevitable”.
Judge Davinder Gill remanded him in custody before sentencing next month and ordered a psychiatric assessment. He was due back in court today for a bail application. The judge said an assessment by probation had found signs of “emotional instability and risk-taking”.
Fitzgerald represented himself at trial and attacked the integrity of the judge, the prosecution and the police. The court heard he has been “sofa-surfing” with a friend in Islington since January and has contacted the homeless charity Crisis. He caused the damage after a hearing at Central London county court on October 3, when a judge ordered him to give up the keys to the Medburn Street home and stay away from it. He had been obstructing its sale since his marriage of over 15 years broke down.
Ms Akester recalled how Fitzgerald stormed out of the family court hearing before going home to wreak havoc. The next day she arrived at the house to a scene “of some devastation”. She said he had also destroyed a framed picture of her and her siblings. “It had been torn into tiny, tiny shreds. I found that extremely hurtful,” she told the court.
Recorder Gill will consider a restraining order on Fitzgerald contacting Ms Akester when she passes sentence.
Fitzgerald also told jurors about a legal dispute over land in Ireland he claims belongs to his aunt. In a hearing on that case in August, he tried to have a law firm partner committed to prison and filed applications in the Court of Protection. A judge dismissed his claims as a “farrago of nonsense” and landed him with a costs bill of almost £100,000.
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