Prison warning after 'deliberate breach' of restraining order

A Washington offender has been handed a suspended prison term for harassing his former lover to the point she may move home.
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John McGuire, 55, described by his victim as a ‘horrible, violent controlling man’, turned up at her front door on Wednesday, February 8, in breach of a court-imposed restraining order.

As she hid inside, McGuire, of Willows Close, Columbia, pleaded in a note, “I’m falling to pieces, help” – and signed off with an ‘x’ for a kiss.

Double figures

John McGuireJohn McGuire
John McGuire
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At South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, District Judge Zoe Passfield told him he had an ‘appalling record’ of breaching court orders.

She said only the fact he would lose his job as an Amazon nightshift worker and may lose his home if jailed, was sparing him immediate imprisonment.

Jailing him for eight weeks, suspended for two years, she said of his breaches: “You’re well into double figures.

“This was a deliberate breach, it was planned. You attended her address. She now feels she may have to move house.

“Breach it or commit any other offence and go to prison.”

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The court heard the two-year restraining order, put in place by the same court in December, banned him from contacting his ex by any means.

It was imposed after he was acquitted of a stalking charge against her but a prosecution application for a restraining order was accepted by magistrates.

McGuire, who has 35 previous convictions from 106 offences, pleaded guilty to harassment – breach of a restraining order after acquittal.

The court heard his previous breach offences were not against the same woman, from whom he split in August.

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Sandra Fife, defending, said McGuire’s heaving drinking had led to a recent serious health warning from his doctor.

Order remains in place

She added: “They’ve been blunt, he needs to be worried about it. He’s in a position where he’s extra motivated in regard of alcohol.

“The objective is for him to get his drinking under control and to deal with his mental health issues.”

Judge Passfield ordered McGuire to sit the Building Better Relationships programme and undertake six months of alcohol treatment, and he must pay a £114 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.

The restraining order remains in place until December next year.