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Robert Lister jailed at Southampton Crown Court after terrorising his family for years

A distraught father revealed to a court how he and his wife are terrified of their own son – with the mum being driven to try to take her life because of it.

In a statement to Southampton Crown Court, Richard Lister, from Ringwood, told how wife Marianne “felt safer” in hospital following the attempt because she was away from their son Robert, who had pleaded guilty to stalking his parents and wife Sarah.

He said: “My wife is petrified of Robert. She was driven to a suicide attempt and felt safer there recovering because he could not cause problems. Enough is enough - she is dying inside.

Robert Lister was jailed at Southampton Crown Court
Robert Lister was jailed at Southampton Crown Court

“Our quality of life has changed immensely due to Robert’s behaviour. I am scared out of my wits - he is frightening. I did not want to attend court for fear of seeing him.

“I am 79 with prostrate cancer, I do not want to have to fight him at this stage of my life. I am ashamed of the person he has become.

“He is bad and when he has had a drink, he is far worse. I cannot sleep at night; I am scared of what he will do. I am worried that he will hurt my family, I think he is capable of anything.”

Lister (48), of Wanstead Close, Ringwood, had pleaded guilty at magistrate’s court to the stalking charge, along with one of sending malicious communications and another of assaulting a police officer. He has ten previous convictions for offences including domestic harassment and battery.

Prosecutor Keely Harvey told how the defendant had frequently been violent towards his wife Sarah during their ten-year marriage. On 6th April this year she told him she was going by bus into town to visit her grandmother’s grave.

She said that Lister accused her of lying and said she was going to see a male friend of hers. During the bus journey he rang his wife 38 times, being “abusive” and on one occasion told her “she should go off and kill herself.”

Mrs Lister had then gone to Lister’s parents’ home where their children were. Ms Harvey said: “He started calling them and left messages making threats and telling them (his parents) what he would do to them if they did not tell him where she (Sarah) was.

“He said if he went to prison he would wait until he got out and kill them.

“He said he would kill them and wanted to stab Sarah. She became frightened when she heard the threats to his parents. They told her she could not go back to Robert, that they did not think it was safe.”

Police were called and went to Lister’s home where they could hear him shouting. The court heard he then appeared with a knife and a handful of tablets which he tried to take.

After he was arrested, the defendant told police that if he went to prison he would “come out and kill her (Sarah) and cut her throat.” He then “lunged” towards a female police officer and tried to head butt her.

Lister later told officers he had been “joking” and had had his first drink in six years. The court heard he had been a heroin addict for most of his life.

Defence barrister Ed Warren told how Lister wanted to be jailed for the offences because he was “doing well in prison”.

He said: “He has got himself clean of drugs, There is a great proliferation of drugs in prison and since he has been in custody he has been offered them numerous times and has refused. “

The defendant, he added, was now planning to study while inside and find a job and secure a home away from Ringwood when he came out.

“He accepts his behaviour was appalling and abhorrent,” said Mr Warren.

Lister was sentenced to 21 months in jail for stalking, 9 months for sending malicious communications and three months for assaulting a police officer. The sentences are all concurrent.

He was also given a no contact order against his parents and wife.

Judge Nicholas Rowland told him: “You are making good progress; I hope that continues.”

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