A "jealous" pest who harassed a former partner by repeatedly shouting through her letter box and insulting her sister has been sent down for 18 months.
Stephen Hughes, 43, of Bankfield Road, Widnes, was handed a prison sentence at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester yesterday after triggering a suspended sentence imposed in March for supplying heroin and cocaine last year.
Judge Sophie McKone, presiding, said Hughes had failed to take the chances given to him and failed to have "kept out of trouble".
John Richards, prosecuting, told the court Hughes was spared an immediate prison sentence at Liverpool Crown Court on March 20 for possession with intent to supply heroin and cocaine, plus simple possession for cocaine, after Hughes had turned up at Widnes Police Station on March 6 last year saying he had been "forced to deal drugs" and "handed over a small amount".
He received 18 months in prison, suspended for two years.
In May he began harassing former partner Tonya Robinson, with whom he had been in a relationship after first meeting in October but it deteriorated and he became "jealous" and "controlling", culminating in an "aggressive and angry’" episode in which he began punching holes in a wall.
She ended it when he turned up on May 7 and she thought he had been taking drugs, which he denied, claiming he had been arrested in a case of "mistaken identity".
From May 6 to 18 he tormented Miss Robinson with a campaign of daily harassment, shouting "why do you hate me so much?" and "why did you break up with me?" through her letter box repeatedly every day and posting letters – which she passed to the police as evidence.
The harassment worsened, with one incident beginning with Miss Robinson hearing a loud noise outside her bedroom window.
Mr Richards said: “She pulled back the curtains and saw Mr Hughes holding a plank of wood as though about to strike the window.
“He ran away and dropped the wood.”
A screwdriver was found where he was stood.
At 3pm on May 16, he turned up to apologise for insulting her sister Kyla only to return four hours later and start hurling slurs at her again.
In another incident, he snatched Miss Robinson’s phone from her hand as she tried to call the police and threw it on the ground, and threw a garden light at her, breaking it, and when he came round to return a laptop he had borrowed, he said “here’s your f***ing laptop” and then threw it at a window, breaking it before walking away.
Defence barrister Simon Christie noted that he was only charged in connection with the garden light.
The sisters were watching television on May 17 at around 6pm when they heard Hughes shouting through letter box, and Kyla saw him walk past and "gesticulate with his middle finger".
Mr Richards said the ordeal caused Miss Robinson "serious distress" and anxiety.
Hughes, whose criminal record has 32 convictions for 95 offences, pleaded guilty in magistrates' court to harassment without violence, criminal damage below £5,000 and breaching a suspended sentence.
Mr Christie, defending, said his client "realises his position is extremely serious, having effectively breached your trust" but said a place in a bail hostel in Leigh was available for Hughes should a non-custodial sentence be passed.
He asked for his guilty pleas to be taken into account, and also the strained conditions in prison due to coronavirus.
Judge McKone sentenced Hughes to 18 months in prison.
She took into account the activated suspended sentence – reduced to 15 months because Hughes had completed some of the rehabilitation requirement, and added three months for the harassment and criminal damage matter.
Sentencing Hughes, who appeared via videolink, she said: “When the relationship between you and Miss Robinson broke down, you reacted very badly to that and behaved in a most inappropriate way, which ultimately led her to feeling very anxious."
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She added: “You bombarded her with letters, you attended her home for about a week on a daily basis shouting through the letter box and being very unpleasant and saying very unpleasant things about her sister.”
Anyone suffering from harassment should report it to the police on 101. In an emergency, always call 999.