Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Man avoids prison for harassment of woman

A MAN who harassed a former partner then tried to scare her into dropping charges against him has avoided a prison term.

Nick Jones, 36, of Mill Lane in Benson, was handed a 20-week sentence suspended for two years and ordered to pay his victim £250 compensation after he admitted bombarding her with a string of intimidating phone calls and emails.

Last Friday Oxford Magistrates’ Court was told how Jones, then working as an osteopath, had a relationship with Jaime Swift between May and October last year.

This initially went well but she told police he became “increasingly erratic” and “obsessively jealous” and so she ended things.

Annie Sawyer-Brandish, prosecuting, said he made many attempts to contact her but she didn’t reply and reported Jones to the police, who arrested and cautioned him in November.

Officers made clear that he was to leave her alone but between December 4 and 7 he sent a series of blank emails with different subject lines.

Ms Sawyer-Brandish said the victim felt “deep despair” affecting her mental health and went back to police who charged Jones in February with harassment without violence.

On June 15, a week before he was due to answer police bail, he left four voicemails on her phone urging her to get in touch.

They included the words: “I expect to hear from you... otherwise I will be forced to talk to my brothers and friends” and he claimed to know “quite powerful people” in Sicily.

Ms Swift then received 19 missed calls from a withheld number, followed by eight emails from Jones. In one he urged her to drop the prosecution.

On June 19, Jones appeared at court charged with witness intimidation, harassment without violence and breaking his bail conditions by making contact with her. He pleaded guilty to all charges.

Richard Demczak, defending, said Jones suffered from a mental health condition. A pre-sentencing report which was presented to the court stated that this was an anxiety disorder.

Mr Demczak said the defendant's father, a retired psychiatrist, and the rest of the family would provide emotional support while he is treated by a psychologist and psychiatrist.

He said Jones, who had been kept on remand at HMP Bullingdon, had experienced the “worst three weeks of his life” behind bars and was remorseful, intelligent and of previous good character. He added that the risk of re-offending or serious harm was low.

Presiding magistrate Gillian Holliday said the offences were serious. She also ordered Jones to pay £85 in court costs and attend 10 rehabilitation days and imposed a restraining order forbidding all contact with his victim.

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