A DISGRACED former Army hero who burgled his ex-partner has been jailed for 10 months after trashing the cars of a friend who supported her through her ordeal.
James Mackie, 53, was made an MBE for gallantry for his service with the Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in Bosnia, but last December he was given a restraining order and suspended jail term after he burgled his ex and stole her wedding ring from her late husband.
It is by the association with his ex partner that the complainant has suffered damage to the vehicles
Mackie, of Lancashire Drive, Buckshaw Village, met the widow online in 2012, but the mum-of-two brought their romance to an end. Police, who were contacted when she discovered possessions were missing, found shoes and a passport he had stolen from her when they searched his garage, and he admitted burglary last December.
Now, Preston Crown Court has heard Mackie was caught on CCTV on August 19 damaging a Mercedes and a Jeep on the driveway of a woman who had accompanied his ex to court during the previous case.
He admitted criminal damage, breaching the restraining order and flouting his suspended sentence.
Francis McEntee, prosecuting, said: “It is by the association with his ex partner that the complainant has suffered damage to the vehicles.
“The owner had been very supportive through the whole hearing of the difficulties with the defendant and had been to court with her.
“On August 19 his former partner had a call from her friend indicating her cars had been damaged on her driveway.”
Mackie had been seen making a stabbing motion at the car’s tyres and the vehicles were damaged with paint.
Mr McEntee said: “His face was covered but he was recognised by his mannerisms, build and gait. The incident has had a very profound effect both on the family and has also caused considerable fear to his ex partner who sees this as a clear attack on those linked to her.”
The court heard several documents had been put forward in Mackie’s defence, including a letter he had written saying he had “learned a salutary lesson”, a letter from his doctor, a letter from a General Wilsey congratulating him about his MBE many years ago, and a psychiatric report.
Adrian Williams, defending, said: “The documents present a picture very different to the man who appears in the dock.
“His experiences within the military do still affect him - it’s a long and hard road to recovery as Mr Mackie knows too well. As such his condition can sometimes be acute at times of stress and depression. It appears there was a trigger, that being the receipt of letters about civil action regarding the money he owed. That said, his actions cannot be construed as anything other than planned.”
Mackie was awarded an MBE in 1995 for his service in Bosnia, where he kept mountainous routes open for aid convoys. A vehicle was blown up in a minefield and he suffered severe burns and was intensive care for weeks. He was later given a commendation and an MBE.
The Honorary Recorder of Preston, Judge Mark Brown, said: “In the past you have served your country to the highest of standards and since then it seems you have endeavoured to make a good life in the civilian world.
“But the fact remains in December I gave you a chance when I was prepared to suspend your sentence, and I warned you it was a close run decision. I would be failing in my duty to the public if I did not send you to prison today.”