Saturday, 21 October 2017

Ex text pest handed restraining order

A HENLEY town councillor who repeatedly called and texted a former girlfriend after she ended their relationship has been given a 12-month restraining order.

Will Hamilton tried again and again to contact Rebekah Chenery after she broke things off, Oxford Magistrates' Court heard on Friday.

Hamilton, 45, of Greys Road, Henley, had been due to stand trial for alleged harassment to which he had pleaded not guilty.

But Helen Waite, prosecuting, told the court that after discussion with Miss Chenery and Hamilton's solicitor, it was felt the restraining order would provide the "appropriate protection".

Hamilton, a Conservative councillor for the Henley North ward, was also banned from visiting Newtown Gardens or Park Road.

District judge Tim Pattinson told him he couldn't contact Miss Chenery or her mother. "You will have no contact, direct or indirect, and that includes texting, Facebook, email, shouting across the street, getting someone else to make contact," he said.

"It is a very important court order. A breach of a restraining order can lead to imprisonment for a period of up to five years."

Miss Waite said Miss Chenery had made it clear to Hamilton when she ended their relationship on February 5 that "was the end of it".

Hamilton, a managing partner at management consultancy Hamilton Associates, had her personal and work mobile phone numbers.

Miss Waite said: "Over the following weeks, and indeed months, she received a significant number of text messages from Mr Hamilton and it is really the number of text messages and phone calls, not the content of them, that raised this to the level of concern for her, there being days when she would receive phone calls approximately every 40 minutes."

The court heard that between February 5 and April 26 Hamilton sent 20 text messages and on the weekend of February 8 left voicemails every 40 minutes on both mobile phones.

Miss Waite said Miss Chenery did not respond but felt the situation was beginning to have an impact on her professional life.

She said that there were occasions when the pair came across each other and once Miss Chenery saw Hamilton when he was out jogging.

Miss Waite said: "He deliberately crossed the road so he was on the same side as her. She changed her route and he reappeared a little while later.

"There have been visits to her home address, visits to her mother's address. It has got to the point that it is having an effect upon her."

Miss Waite said Miss Chenery felt "helpless" at how to deal with the situation and stop Hamilton "pestering" her and ended up going to the police.

She continued: "She took to altering the routine that she had got into, parking her car in different places and so on and so forth, because she was worried about his behaviour.

"Mr Hamilton does have some recognition that the number of phone calls was inappropriate otherwise we would not be in this position."

Miss Waite said Miss Chenery was still "most anxious" about Hamilton but said that the "rawness" of the situation had been reduced.

Stephen Bennett, for Hamilton, said his client had wanted to understand why the relationship had ended and to make arrangements to return property.

He said there had been significant periods where there had been no contact at all. If their paths crossed in a pub or a restaurant, Hamilton would walk out.

The last contact between the two had been a chance encounter at a pub on April 27. Hamilton was arrested on May 20.

Mr Bennett said Hamilton had no wish to have any contact with Miss Chenery and acknowledged it had got him into a "heap of trouble" which he "could do without".

Judge Pattinson said he was satisfied that it was necessary to make a restraining order. He formally dismissed the harassment charge and said the order was an "eminently sensible" way of dealing with the matter.

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