Sunderland man told ex-partner’s new boyfriend: “I’ll find her”

A Sunderland man subject to a restraining order phoned his ex-partner on Christmas Eve and warned her new boyfriend: “I’ll find her”.

Friday, 17th September 2021, 5:00 am
Updated Friday, 17th September 2021, 10:04 am

Gary Stephenson, 48, told the man he was free to get in touch because the two-year banning order had ended that day.

But Stephenson, of Marigold Court, Millfield, had his dates mixed up.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard it was set to end exactly a month later, on January 24.

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The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

His calls saw him charged with breaching the order and hauled into court, where he admitted his guilt.

Prosecutor Niamh Reading said: “At 8.35pm the victim received a call from the defendant, which she answered.

“He said, ‘It’s me’. She immediately ended the call.

“At 8.37pm the victim’s partner answered and reminded the defendant of the restraining order.

“The defendant told him it had expired, and said, ‘Shows what you know’.

“He then said, ‘I know that she’s moved, I’ll find her’.”

In a victim statement read to the court, the woman said she feared Stephenson would track her down.

She added she had felt compelled to install security measures to the front and rear of her home.

The court heard they had been in a 17-year relationship which had broken down.

The restraining order was imposed by Teesside Magistrates’ Court on January 24, 2019.

It followed him admitting a charge of harassment, his sole previous criminal conviction.

Ian Cassidy, defending, said: “He accepts that a call was made and that he spoke to her on one occasion.

“He describes himself as an alcoholic. On this occasion it was Christmas and he rang.

“He had been drinking and was drunk. He thought the restraining order had finished, it was short by one month.

“He doesn’t remember anything about her partner, and he doesn’t intend to seek her out.”

Stephenson pleaded guilty to breaching a restraining order.

District Judge Paul Currer ordered a pre-sentence report and Stephenson must return to the same court on Friday, October 8.

Stephenson was granted bail on condition he does not interfere with prosecution witnesses.

He must also abide at his home address and not attend any address where he knows his ex-partner to be.