Window cleaning boss is sentenced

A WINDOW cleaning boss has been cleared of three charges arising out of a dispute with a former employee.

A jury at York Crown Court yesterday found Philip Jones, 44, not guilty on the direction of the judge of charges of burglary, intimidation and criminal damage.

The verdict came at the end of the prosecution case which alleged Jones had entered the home of John Massheder and his partner as a burglar, and removed window cleaning equipment.

It was also alleged that on another occasion he had intimidated Mr Massheder by stating that he ought to be careful up his ladder in case some one knocked him off it.

The third allegation was that he kicked and dented Mr Massheder’s vehicle in the street.

Judge Colin Burn told the jury the evidence had not come up to scratch and in those circumstances the Crown were offering no further evidence and he would direct them to return not guilty verdicts.

However, father-of-four Jones, of Kirkdale, Kirkbymoorside, was then sentenced on two previously admitted charges of sending an offensive or menacing text message to Mr Massheder on September 6 2010, and misuse of a computer. Jones admitted sending a text stating Mr Massheder was “a dead man”.

He also admitted that after entering Mr Massheder’s home by a first floor window by use of a ladder on September 4 2010, he had wiped a programme off the couple’s computer.

The court heard that Jones had been after equipment he believed was his and had decided once in the house to wipe the business programme, which he had originally installed himself, off the computer.

The jury had been told the two former friends had fallen out after Mr Massheder decided to start up on his own, allegedly taking with him some of Jones’ customers and business.

Mitigating, David Dixon said his client was a hard-working man who in 17 years had built up a window cleaning business covering much of Scarborough, Malton and Pickering areas.

Passing sentence, the judge said the fact Jones had entered someone else’s home in order to get at the computer was an aggravating feature.

For the text message offence Jones was fined £485 and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge.

The computer offence led to Jones being ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work.

The judge also imposed a five-year restraining order preventing Jones contacting Mr Massheder and his partner.