Leeds man sent “sinister” messages to former girlfriend

The man was caught on CCTV
The man was caught on CCTV

A JILTED boyfriend sent a picture of himself holding a knife outside his ex-partner’s bedroom and posted a naked photograph of her on Facebook, a court heard.

Matthew Hawtin defied court orders and bombarded his victim with “sinister” mobile phone and online messages during a campaign of harassment.

A court heard Hawtin’s former partner had to be moved to a women’s refuge over concerns for her safety and his conduct resulted in him being jailed.

Giles Grant, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court Hawtin was issued with a harassment warning in May this year after he rang the victim up to 40 times a day when she ended their 10-month relationship.

The young woman moved into a hostel as a result of his behaviour but he continued to send her Facebook messages asking to rekindle their relationship.

Hawtin put a picture on the social networking site which showed her naked.

He also sent messages to other people asking them to keep a look-out for the victim.

The prosecutor said: “She received a number of further messages but the tone began to change.”

Hawtin sent her pictures of tablets and also an image of himself with a bag over his head.

Hawtin managed to find out where the hostel was and began waiting outside for her.

She was moved to another hostel without Hawtin knowing and he continued to turn up at the original premises, from where he sent her a picture of himself holding a knife.

Police were called by hostel staff and he was arrested at the scene.

Hawtin was arrested over the incident. He appeared before magistrates the same day as the victim managed to obtain a non-molestation order in the civil court. Hawtin contacted the victim after being granted bail.

The woman answered her phone and Hawtin told her: “I’m coming to find you.”

On July 30 this year he sent the victim 130 Facebook messages.

Mr Grant said: “On reading, the tone can be noticed to change from relatively mild to sinister in nature.”

Hawtin also used his mother’s Facebook account to send messages to the woman before he was arrested again.

Hawtin, of Cross Green, Otley, pleaded guilty to two offences of harassment, five of breaching a non-molestation order and possession of a bladed article.

Anna Moran, mitigating, said Hawtin had no previous convictions and his actions were out of character as he struggled to cope with the breakdown of the relationship.

The barrister said: “He is not experienced in relationships and the probation service recognises a lack of maturity.”

Miss Moran said Hawtin and spent 24 days in custody on remand since being arrested.

She said Hawtin worked as a chef and was well regarded by his employers. She said he would be allowed to keep his job if he was not given an immediate prison sentence.

Hawtin was given a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to take part in a 35-day programme designed to address his offending and do 240 hours unpaid work.

Judge Rodney Jameson, QC, said: “I could lock you up for a while but you would be out after a short period of time and there would be precious little to help you with the difficulties that you have and precious little by way of a stick hanging over your head.”

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