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Homeless shelter windows smashed; Man admits criminal damage.

Byline: TOM MACK

A DRUNKEN man refused a bed at a Loughborough homeless shelter on Monday morning (July 1) shouted at hostel staff before smashing two windows. Damen Riel (32) of no fixed address had been sleeping in tents in car parks since being evicted from the Falcon Centre in Loughborough six weeks ago for causing damage and threatening violence against the staff there on another occasion.

On Monday morning at about 3.30am Riel was let in to use to the toilet and then tried to sleep on a sofa. He was told he was too drunk to stay in the hostel and he became aggressive, shouting and swearing at the staff. He left after about 20 minutes but 10 minutes after that - at about 4am - he was heard banging on the rear doors of the hostel, shouting.

The warden of the hostel in Pinfold Gate went to the rear doors and noticed a broken window pane. He left but returned moments later after hearing smashing.

He found another window smashed, with a brick lying inside the hostel and he spotted Riel running away.

Riel was later arrested by Leicestershire Police and admitted what he had done in interview.

He remained in custody until later that morning when he appeared at Leicester Magistrates' Court . He admitted criminal damage. Prosecutor Kwok Wan told the court: "He said the staff were antagonising him and he denied making any threats."

He said Riel had convictions for 52 previous offences, including 13 for causing criminal damage.

Riel's solicitor, Rachel Diorio, told the court it would help her client if he was released from custody to get help for his alcoholism.

She said: "The main cause of Mr Riel's problems is he is homeless. He had been drinking nine per cent alcohol and he has been struggling with alcohol for years.

"He tells me he's feeling very low at the moment. He tells me last night was a cry for help.

"Although he has these blips in his behaviour he's trying his best to move forward.

"Mr Riel would like a chance to be released back into the community so he can try to get into rehab.

"If he is sent into custody he will be 10 steps back and will then be released with nowhere to live.

"It's just going to be a vicious cycle and that's going to make him lose hope entirely."

A probation officer addressed the court and told them that because Riel had failed to comply with court orders in the past he was not considered suitable for any kind of community order.

Miss Diorio told the magistrates they could give Riel a conditional discharge as an alternative to prison.

The magistrates agreed to give Riel a "last chance", with a 12-month conditional discharge and an order to pay PS750 compensation to the Falcon Centre from his benefits.

The chair of the bench, Linda Eaton, told Riel: "You have to behave yourself for 12 months.

"We understand you are trying to sort out your alcohol problem but be aware this is your last chance.

"Take this opportunity and sort your life out."

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Publication:Loughborough Echo (Loughborough, England)
Date:Jul 10, 2019
Words:523
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