A SOMERFORD man will spend Christmas behind bars after he flouted a suspended-sentence order by sending a woman abusive text messages.
Dean Garton (27) was sent down for fourth months at Bournemouth Crown Court after it heard his texts to his ex-partner’s best friend, Samantha Turner, put her in fear.
Prosecutor Aleks Lloyd said the defendant’s long-term partner Stacey Collins told him in April this year she was leaving him and would stay with Ms Turner.
Garton, of Mallory Close, sent Ms Turner messages asking to see his ex. He threatened her when she told him to stay away, before turning up at her house.
In one message, the court heard, Garton told her: “You must be mad thinking you can start a war with me.”
In another he said of his ex: “She ain’t going to be able to hide forever.”
Ms Turner’s victim impact statement was read to the court and revealed her depression and anxiety had worsened because of the instance.
The single mother of two added: “This has had a big impact on my life.”
Mr Lloyd explained by committing the offence Garton was in breach of a suspended sentence he was given in November last year for committing an offence of actual bodily harm.
In that incident Garton punched a fellow footballer at a five-a-side tournament, breaking his jaw.
Garton had been substituted but when a confrontation erupted on the pitch between a team mate of his and a rival, he ran onto the field and struck the opponent, Mr Lloyd said.
Garton’s previous convictions included battery, criminal damage and assault, the court heard. In relation to the latest offence, he admitted one count of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour at a previous hearing.
While the prosecution evidence was being read out Garton gave an audible sigh of frustration – which prompted the judge, Robert Pawson, to intervene.
“You have got to be careful if you start behaving as you are,” he told Garton. “That’s not going to help you.”
Defending, Victoria Hill said her client was “genuinely remorseful”. She pointed out he had a job and provided financial and emotional support to his ex-partner and her two children during their three-year relationship.
Ms Hill said Garton suffered from a range of mental health conditions, including ADHD and oppositional defiance disorder, and was prone to make “impulsive” decisions. As a child he spent a lot of time in hospital for operations on a cleft lip and his mother was an invaluable source of support to him.
However, she died in 2015, around the time Garton’s offending began, and the two were linked, Ms Hill suggested. Garton had lost the “only person” who understood him best and helped him manage his emotions, she added, before pleading with the judge to suspend the sentence.
Garton, Miss Hill stressed, would be “vulnerable” in a custody setting, had complied with the court order apart from the offence and it was “in the public interest” to allow him to serve his sentence in the community while getting help from probation to address his issues.
However, Judge Pawson said government guidelines said anyone who reoffended while on a suspended sentence order had to be sent down unless it would be “unjust” to do so.
Having heard the facts, seen the background and been told of Garton’s previous convictions, Judge Pawson said he believed immediate custody was the only option.
One of the reasons, he added, he decided to send Garton to jail was because the defendant audibly sighed in court. “Your reaction in the dock today strikes me as undermining [the argument] you are genuinely remorseful,” the judge said, which caused Garton to argue.
When Judge Pawson announced the punishment, Garton furiously shouted: “So I’m going to prison? This is f***ing b******t.”
He then asked acquaintances in the public gallery to ring his father. As he was led away by a dock officer, he slammed his fist into the door leading to the cells.