'High-powered' Yorkshire lawyer harassed partner and drove car into their home overlooking Harrogate Stray

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A successful lawyer harassed his partner and drove his Nissan Qashqai into their home on Boxing Day while suffering from psychosis and an alcohol problem.

Richard Wade-Smith, 66, was sentenced at York Crown Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to harassment, criminal damage and driving while over the limit.

The planning and environmental law expert enjoyed a successful career and lived in a home on Slingsby Walk in Harrogate, which overlooks The Stray, with his partner of 22 years.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In 2021 his behaviour changed and he became a ‘completely different person’ after he resumed drinking following seven years of sobriety.

The couple lived in a house overlooking Harrogate StrayThe couple lived in a house overlooking Harrogate Stray
The couple lived in a house overlooking Harrogate Stray

The court was told that Wade-Smith would wake his partner, 63, in the night to demand she answer questions, ask her to leave the house and shout at her.

She described how she would end up sitting on the doorstep or wandering the streets because she was too embarrassed to tell friends what was happening.

She kept a ‘grab bag’ of possessions and feared physical assault.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In November 2021 he was arrested after threatening to kick her down the stairs when she tried to leave, and was bailed with the condition that he did not contact her. However he continued to send messages.

On Boxing Day she awoke to the sound of smashing and an engine revving, and Wade-Smith was found by police inside his Qashqai, having rammed the car into the front door.

In a victim impact statement, she said she had been left financially insecure due to delays to the sale of the property, and has health issues and low confidence.

Wade-Smith’s defence counsel said he was remorseful and had insight into his actions. He has already spent nine months in prison on remand.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Sentencing Wade-Smith to a three-year community order with 40 hours of rehabilitation activity, Judge Sean Morris said: “This is a tragic case. You were a successful solicitor who worked hard and held a high-powered position. Yet you became bipolar and your partner recognised something was wrong. You turned into a completely different person.”

A restraining order was also granted which prevents Wade-Smith contacting his ex-partner and entering a number of streets in Harrogate – though he disputed the extent as it would stop him using a Waitrose store.

He was also banned from driving for 17 months.