A MAN who previously pleaded guilty to criminal damage when he threw flour on a neighbour's Mercedes was sentenced to four months imprisonment yesterday, for perverting the course of justice in connection with the incident.

Julian Tapping, 39, of Main Road, Clydach, Monmouthshire, also known as Julian Riley and Imran Asad, pleaded guilty earlier this month at Newport Magistrates' Court to damaging the vehicle of Peter Elliot, his neighbour, when he threw white powder over the car in September last year. The flour was previously said to have become like “brittle cement”. He also pleaded guilty to the charge of perverting the course of justice at an earlier hearing.

Tapping was charged with intimidation of a witness on March 29 after he repeatedly phoned BP Motor Bodybuilders and Engineers, a company based in Cheltenham, who had provided an assessment of repair costs of £7,397 for Mr Elliott’s Mercedes.

During a sentencing at Cardiff Crown Court yesterday, the court heard that between March 7 and 27 Tapping had phoned the company five times using a fake name and posing as being from 'the authorities’. He enquired about the cost of repairs and asked to obtain a copy of the invoice.

Ian Kolvin, prosecuting, said: “The defendant said his name was Paul Riley and that he needed the documents to be put before the magistrates’ court.

The court heard how Tapping had become upset after paying to have his own evaluation of the damage by a firm in Newport ,which had produced an estimation of £400 to cover claying, or polishing, the car to remove the powder.

Jeffrey Jones, for the defence, said: “The manner of the phone call was far from being intimidating or threatening. It was inquisitive.”

Mr Jones told the court that Tapping was trying to find out in his telephone calls to BP Motor if the figure was an invoice or an assessment and whether any insurance claim had been filed.

Mr Jones said: “He wanted to know if it was an injustice to him. He wasn’t trying to absolve himself for he had already pleaded guilty.”

Tapping was sentenced to four months imprisonment for perverting the course of justice. He has yet to be sentenced for criminal damage.

He appeared before the court in a wheelchair after having what Mr Jones described as a breakdown due to stress.

The court heard how Tapping, who is a funeral director, has had financial difficulty and has put his hearse up for sale.

Recorder IWL Jones, said: “Between the 7th and 27th of March you deliberately repeated in carrying out perverting the course of justice and taking the law into your own hands.

“Today you appear before the court having had a break down and are on medication. You have expressed remorse here today.”