Northern Ireland news

Man branded 'danger to women' by judge is jailed for terrorising ex-partner

Fernando Murphy has been sentenced to 14 months in prison for harassing his ex-partner
Seanín Graham

DETECTIVES have welcomed the sentencing of a man for harassment of his ex-partner and urged anyone in similar situations to come forward to "get justice".

Fernando Murphy (42), of Balholm Drive in north Belfast, was described as a "danger to women" by a judge who imposed a 14-month prison sentence at Craigavon Magistrates' Court last Friday.

He was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment for harassment, breaching a restraining order and sending malicious messages through social media and texting.

He will also serve an additional four months for breaching an earlier suspended sentence imposed for similar offending in 2017.

During the hearing, Judge Des Perry commended the "great fortitude" of Murphy's victim after she alerted police to her ordeal.

He told Murphy: "I am quite satisfied that you are a danger to women - not just this woman, who was terrorised by you for a number of months."

The court heard how he had used multiple Twitter accounts to tag the victim in messages which were "obscene and abusive". He had also confronted her in Belfast city centre last August, before following her and hurling abuse in the street.

Murphy's solicitor said her client wished to appeal the sentence and applied for bail.

Leave to appeal was granted but bail was refused.

The PSNI released a statement on Saturday welcoming Murphy's sentencing.

A spokesman added: "Anyone suffering from any form of harassment is encouraged to come forward and speak with detectives in Public Protection Branch and can expect to be treated with sensitivity and respect whilst officers help explore the person's options to get justice."

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