Bat attack vigilante dad is spared jail

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A dad convicted of attacking a prolific criminal he suspected had torched his car claims police failed him.

Father-of-two Dale Garbutt, who has no previous convictions, turned vigilante after his new £16,000 Vauxhall Insignia was set alight and destroyed on the driveway of his home in Oakfield Crescent, Knottingley.

Fork lift truck driver Mr Garbutt, 31, and his partner Sharon Williams, 40, told the YEP they recognised a man walking away from the blaze and called police after the incident at around 3am last August 24.

The couple claim that when police arrived at around 10.30am, officers said didn’t have enough evidence to arrest the man, who has 36 convictions for 120 offences.

The couple say they happened to drive past the man at around 5pm that day and he was still wearing the same clothes from the early hours.

Leeds Crown Court heard Mr Garbutt hit him seven times to the head and body with a baseball bat – before the bat snapped – and then hit him in the ribs with a crowbar

The man managed to run away, suffering cuts and bruises.

Mike Devlin, mitigating, told the court: “I am told by Mr Garbutt’s partner that they have had a written apology from the police for not reacting.”

Mr Garbutt admitted wounding and two counts of possessing an offensive weapon.

The court heard Mr Garbutt’s family had been the victim of a number of attacks on their home – including broken windows and attacks on their car – in the previous 12 months.

Handing Mr Garbutt a 51-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, Judge Spencer described the attack as “out of character”.

He added: “You lost your temper and acted beyond any reasonable control.”

Mr Garbutt said after the hearing that police should have gone around to the man’s property after his partner first called them.

He added: “I think the justice system has helped us out because I could have been in jail now.”

Miss Williams said: “There was no doubt in our minds who we saw that night and what he had done. It’s terrible that he [Mr Garbutt] has got a criminal record now.”

A West Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “Police attended at the earliest opportunity.

“Enquiries were undertaken including house to house enquiries and forensic enquiries as well as a referral to partner agencies to prevent further occurrences.”

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