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Monday, 28 July 2014

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Man sent Carlisle Facebook friend 700 texts after she dumped him

A love-struck man sent more than 700 mostly unpleasant text messages to a young woman he had befriended on Facebook when she tried to dump him.

Gavin Stevenson, 28, had initially got on well with Kirsty Jackson, of Carlisle, and had met her a few times. But she – wanting “only friendship and nothing else” – eventually told him to leave her alone when he made it clear he wanted more.

He was by then so obsessed with the 20-year-old he bombarded her with messages, followed her to the Job Centre and over just a few days phoned her 32 times on her mobile, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

When that didn’t work he even sent her a birthday card smeared with excrement and started pestering her friend Kerry Rawson – and spraying insulting graffiti outside her house – in the hope that she would help him rekindle the relationship. That left Ms Jackson no alternative but to call the police, the court heard, and he was arrested and charged with harassing both her and her friend.

Prosecuting counsel Nick Kennedy told the court Ms Jackson and Stevenson had met through Facebook in August last year, and after a few weeks had agreed to meet face-to-face.

“She only wanted friendship and nothing else, and wanted just to enjoy herself rather than becoming involved in a serious way,” he said.

“He, on the other hand, wanted to take things very much more seriously and he eventually reached the stage where he was telling her he really loved her.”

When Ms Jackson told him he was getting too serious he was “sometimes very nice, and at other times he was rather nasty – making comments and sending text messages which were offensive and unpleasant”.

Mr Kennedy told the court the pair last went out together in October.

“By that time she had had enough and told him so,” Mr Kennedy said, “but unfortunately that did not put an end to the texting, even though she asked him not to.”

In mid-November he heard she was going to the Job Centre, so he went there too and went home with her after waiting outside.

After that he continued texting and phoning her, though she begged him to leave her alone, Mr Kennedy said.

“Many of the messages were unpleasant and offensive in their terminology and it was obviously beginning to have quite a considerable impact on her life,” the barrister said.

Stevenson, who now lives in Dalbeattie Road in Dumfries, although he sometimes lived temporarily in Carlisle while working in city nightclubs last summer, admitted pursuing a course of harassment against both Ms Jackson and Ms Rawson.

The court heard Stevenson had previous convictions for sending offensive messages while living in Scotland.

In mitigation defence advocate Mark Shepherd said Stevenson admitted his behaviour had gone too far.

But since he had spent 84 days in custody on remand, and the maximum sentence for such an offence was just six months – only half of which would be spent in prison – he would be released immediately.

She also made a restraining order which bans him from going anywhere near his victims or sending them messages for five years.

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