Northern Ireland news

Pharmacist who bombarded ex-partner with hundreds of phone calls and texts will be jailed if he contacts her again

Belfast Magistrate's Court heard the unwanted communication between August 2020 and April 2021 included repeated requests for the woman to get back in touch

A PHARMACIST who "bombarded" his ex-partner with hundreds of phone calls and texts will be jailed for five months if he contacts her again, a judge has warned.

Richard Andrew Lyness (38) was given probation and community service for a campaign of harassment.

Belfast Magistrate's Court heard the unwanted communication between August 2020 and April 2021 included repeated requests for the woman to get back in touch.

On one occasion she was accused of being a prostitute, while in another incident flowers were left at her place of work.

"She asked a colleague to throw them away because she felt distressed, a Crown lawyer said.

The court was told 170 emails, more than 30 texts and 677 calls were logged in one period of less than two weeks.

The woman also received contact on a daily basis via Facebook and Instagram, according to the prosecution.

Lyness, with an address at Cromwell Road in Belfast, was convicted of harassment, persistent improper misuse of a public electronic communications network, and breach of a non-molestation order.

With alcohol cited as a factor in the incidents, a defence barrister offered a reference from a Christian evangelical group on his client's behalf.

But District Judge Liam McNally remarked: "There's very little Christian about the behaviour just repeated to me."

Lyness was also made subject to a restraining order to ensure he leaves the woman alone until 2023.

The judge warned him: "If you contact her in any shape or form I will sentence you to five months imprisonment on that charge.

"If you go back on the drink, get drunk and decide 'I must pick up my phone or iPad and send a WhatsApp', just think twice."

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