County Antrim man blitzed on-off partner with 123 phone calls which began on July 12 this year

County Antrim man blitzed on-off partner with 123 phone calls which began on July 12 this year

A LARNE man caused "distress" to his on-off partner after bombarding her with 123 phone calls over a 36-hour period starting on July 12 this year.

Stuart Denis Grady (58), of Ballycraigy Ring, appeared via video link from prison at Ballymena Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to harassment.

A prosecutor said the woman initially answered a call as she had not recognised Grady's new number but when she recognised his voice she hung up.

Grady then proceeded to ring her over 120 times and the number of calls caused the woman "distress resulting in her crying" and she contacted police, the prosecutor said.

Defence solicitor Kevin MacAllister said Grady said he had earlier contacted police as he was worried about his ex-partner's health and he had been calling to check on her wellbeing.

However, the lawyer said there was no dispute that 123 calls over 36 hours would amount to harassment.

Mr MacAllister said it was not the case that the woman did not always shun contact from Grady as she had written him several letters and recently they had gone shopping together in Asda when the defendant paid for £200 worth of shopping including cat food and "women's clothing".

It was said Grady has often been in court in connection with offences relating to his former partner.

District Judge Nigel Broderick asked: "How are we going to break this cycle?"

He added: "Someone needs to sit down with these people because it very difficult to understand the dynamics ... and results then in the police being called in.

"I'm not so sure these court appearances and sentences are having any practical effect".

He told Grady: "You really need to stay away from (the woman) becaus it is not a good relationship and when you go back to her it inevitably results in alcohol being taken and then reports to police and then you end up in custody".

The judge said it was a "revolving door" and told Grady: "Whatever your feelings for her, it is a toxic relationship and it is going to continually end up you being back before the court. I can do no more than that."

Judge Broderick handed down a three months prison term, suspended for a year, and added: "That is hanging over your head. Hopefully, that might be some incentive to stay away from her."