Man who trashed Airbnb and assaulted owner while high on drugs avoids jail

The accused had dug multiple holes in the walls, upturned furniture and smashed the TV during the rampage.

Kyle Robertson

Paul HigginsSunday World

A Belfast man who was high on drink and drugs when he trashed an Airbnb and assaulted the owners has narrowly escaped going to prison.

Sentencing Kyle Robertson at Antrim Crown Court last Thursday, Judge Alistair Devlin warned him the combination order of two years probation and 80 hours community service was a “direct alternative” to sending the 21-year-old to jail.

Prosecuting counsel Suzanne Gallagher had earlier outlined that at around 9pm on 26 February last year, the police were alerted to the incident at an Airbnb property just outside Ballymena.

When they arrived, the owners reported how they sneered a knock at their door to be confronted by Robertson’s girlfriend in a distressed state, her face covered in blood.

“On investigation, the owners found that the rental unit had been trashed and the defendant had left,” said Ms Gallagher adding however that Robertson came back later and having gone back into the property, assaulted the two owners.

The first victim told cops Robertson “kicked her on the left shin” and then having grabbed her phone, stormed off with it outside but came back again and having kicked his way through the door.

He also “grabbed her by the throat and pushed her against one of the counters causing pain in her side and tenderness to her throat.”

“At this stage, the defendant went as if to assault his girlfriend but the victim shouted at him that the police were coming and he again left the rental unit,” said the barrister.

She told the court that once outside, Robertson “grabbed hold of something and started hitting her vehicle,” causing large dents to the rear driver’s side door before leaving a chunk of glass buried in a tyre.

It was while Robertson was destroying the car that he also assaulted the co-owner, “slamming her twice” into a wall until he “became distracted” and left her be.

She was so terrified, said Ms Gallagher, that she hid under a bush until the police arrived and the lawyer suggested the multiple 999 calls “highlight how long this incident went on for and how distressing it was for the parties involved.”

The court heard that, as far as the amount of damage was concerned, the TV was smashed, Robertson had dug multiple holes in the walls and had upturned furniture.

With a bill running into the thousands of pounds, one of the owners took time off from her usual work to put the cottage right but it is understood that since the incident, rental of the pretty cottage has sadly ceased.

Arrested and interviewed by police Robertson, from Malvern Way in Belfast, suggested he may have damaged to TV when he threw a faking controller at it but he denied any other damage and refuted accusations that he assaulted anyone.

Ms Gallagher argued the offences were aggravated because the victims were assaulted in a place “they were entitled to feel safe” and in circumstances where they had actually gone out to help Robertson’s girlfriend.

“The whole incident was of some duration and not fleeting in nature and the defendant was under the influence of alcohol and non-prescribed controlled drugs at the time of the offending behaviour,” said the barrister.

Conceding those points, defence counsel Neil Moore stressed however that Robertson had a clear record and had entered guilty plea, even if his confessions were somewhat late in the day.

Sentencing Robertson and ordering him to pay £2,500 compensation, Judge Devlin warned him that if he breached probation or did not complete his CSO hours, he would face a custodial sentence.

Today's Headlines

More Courts

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos