Sunderland man landed in court after drunk-dialing ex on Christmas Eve, despite retraining order

A Sunderland man muddled by booze committed a festive faux pas when he phoned his ex-girlfriend on Christmas Eve.

Sunday, 17th October 2021, 4:55 am
The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

Sozzled Gary Stephenson, 49, told her new partner who picked up: “I know she has moved and I’ll find her”, a court was told.

Stephenson, of Marigold Court, Millfield, believed a court-imposed two-year restraining order against him for harassment had ended that day.

But it had another month to run – and the woman reported him to police for his blunder.

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Stephenson, who magistrates in South Tyneside heard had quit alcohol that day, has now been sentenced to another contact ban.

If he wants to again get in touch with his ex, who he dated for 17 years, he must wait until October 2024.

Prosecutor Becky Slade said: “The restraining order was imposed by magistrates in Teesside on January 24, 2019.

“At 8.30pm on Christmas Eve, she received a telephone call from Mr Stephenson. She recognised his voice and immediately ended the call.

“A minute later, he called back and the woman’s partner picked up.

“When told he was subject to a restraining order, he said, “That ran out on the 24th of December, shows how much you know.”

Ms Slade said it was then Stephenson made the remark that he would find her.

Stephenson’s 2019 harassment conviction is his sole previous criminal offence, it was said.

Ian Cassidy, defending, said: “It’s one breach of the restraining order that ended on the 24th of the following month.

“He had been looking through some old material and there were some old photographs of them.

“They had been together for 17 years, he thought he would give her a call.

“He had been drinking excessively and when he’s under the influence, he doesn’t think.

“He has sought professional help for alcohol, which had become a problem.

“I think the last time he had a drink was at the time of the offence.”

Stephenson was handed a 12-month community order, with a requirement of 25 days of rehabilitation work.

He was made subject to a three-year restraining order which prevents any contact.

And he was fined £80, with a £95 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.

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