Jailed: Sunderland man who harassed ex with 77 texts – despite being handed a restraining order

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A SUNDERLAND man who breached a restraining order by pestering his ex-partner with more than 70 text messages in less than a month has been jailed.

Robert Harrison sent the first text message – wishing her a Happy New Year – just a day after he had been handed a four-week suspended sentence for another breach of the same order.

His defence solicitor told South Tyneside Magistrates Court Harrison had been unable to “let go” after the breakdown of the 24-year relationship in 2009.

The 54-year-old, of Toward Road, Sunderland, had been handed the restraining order – barring him from all contact with the victim – in October of last year.

Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said: “He was given a restraining order in October of last year prohibiting him from contacting her. He breached this on November 18, and on December 30 a suspended sentence order was put in place.

“On December 31, he sent a text to her, saying ‘Happy New Year when it comes’.

“At 4am on January 4, she received a text message saying ‘Hi, love you, give me a call on your old number’. She received a total of 77 messges from the same number. She retained them all on her phone.”

Harrison also went the victim’s home in Boldon Colliery on January 19, but she did not answer.

On January 25, she was reporting the persistent contact and Harrison called her while a police officer was present.

Harrison was arrested and admitted the offences. He pleaded guilty to breaching the restraining order and pursuing a course of conduct which amounted to harassment from December 31 to January 25.

Geoffrey Forrester, defending, said: “He can’t let go. Sadly, that will result in him going to jail.

“He needs help with alcohol issues.”

Magistrates jailed Harrison for 18 weeks for breaching a restraining order and the four-week suspended sentence was activated.

The four-week term will run consecutively, making for a total custodial term of 22 weeks. Harrison was also jailed for six weeks for the harassment offence, but that will run concurrently with the 22-week sentence.