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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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Carlisle dad who put daughter through heartache jailed

A man who breached a restraining order and put his daughter through “anguish and heartache” has been sent to prison.

Michael Heap, 49, was given a suspended two-year sentence in May of last year after harassing his estranged wife.

Heap, of Chapel Street, Carlisle, was also given a restraining order forbidding him from contacting his estranged partner or their 16-year-old daughter.

But despite this order, Heap found his daughter outside Le Gall restaurant in Carlisle city centre, asking her if her mum had been driving their car.

She asked him to go away, but on another occasion he returned while she was working at the restaurant – before the manager told him to leave.

And in September last year he left voicemail messages on his former partner and daughter’s phones, pleading for them to speak to him.

Brendan Burke, prosecuting said: “He said ‘I’m sorry to ring you but I love you for ever.’

“His daughter had picked up the phone and asked him to stop phoning, but he said he would not stop.”

No details of the original offence were given to the court.

The two-year suspended sentence had been given to Heap following what Judge Paul Batty QC referred to as a “very serious case of harassment”.

Referring to the prior sentence, Judge Batty said: “I was persuaded that the time you spent in custody might have brought you to your senses, and allowed you to understand the anguish and heartache that your actions had caused.

“On September 23 you left phone messages on your ex-wife’s voicemail and your daughter was hysterical.

Her mother came back and she pleaded with you to stop but you did not.

“It gives me no pleasure whatsoever to have to activate the suspended sentence on you that I had imposed.”

In mitigation, Carlisle Crown Court heard that the breaches were not abusive, violent or threatening, but demonstrated the affection that Heap had for his daughter.

Heap’s two-year sentence for the harassment conviction was activated, and Judge Batty imposed a consecutive three-month sentence for the four restraining order breaches.

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