A woman feels she will “never be free” of a former partner who persistently breaches restraining orders designed to protect her from his unwanted contact, a court has heard.
Lee Newcombe has a history of harassing and assaulting the woman over the last five years, a series of offences which have had a significant impact on his victim’s mental health.
Sending the 30-year-old to prison, a judge told told him his record of offending was “extremely concerning”.
Swansea Crown Court heard that in July and August this year Newcombe twice rang a former partner – though the woman did not recognise the numbers, she recognised his voice on the other end of the line. The calls – during one of which he used a derogatory term to the woman – were in breach of a restraining order which banned him from contacting her.
Connor Evans, prosecuting, said though the calls were not in themselves the most serious of breaches they needed to be seen in the context of Newcombe’s long history of offending and his “utter disregard” for court orders.
The court heard Newcombe and the woman had been in a “casual sexual relationship” until matters turned sour in 2015. In the August of that year the defendant assaulted the woman, and was subsequently made the subject of a restraining order.
Over the following three years there were to be a series of breaches of the order and its successor order, as well as further assaults. The prosecutor said the incidents ranged from Newcome “making a nuisance of himself at her door” to slapping her across the and quizzing her about sexual partners, and asking her where she had been the previous night as her car had not been outside her house – the implication being he had been keeping watch on her property. Then in 2018 he was sentenced to 27 months for an assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
The prosecutor said the pattern was on of “persistent harassment by the defendant” over a number of years. He said it was clear from a statement submitted to the court by the victim that her mental health had suffered significantly as a result of Newcombe’s unwanted attention, and that his continued breaches have of the court order “have left her with little faith that the order will protect her”.
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Lee Newcombe, of Rhyd y Felin, Trallwn, Llansamlet, Swansea, had previously pleaded guilty to breaching a restraining order when he appeared in the dock via videolink for sentencing. He has nine previous convictions for 15 offences.
Lee Davies, for Newcombe, said the defendant understood that if he kept coming back before the courts his sentences would get longer and longer. He said while not seeking to minimise the impact of what Newcombe had done, his client had suffered two family bereavements in the months following his release from prison which had hit him hard.
Judge Catherine Richards told the defendant his history of offending was “extremely concerning” including, as it did, seven breaches of restraining orders.
She said the calls to the victim this summer after a long period without contact had set back the progress the woman had made and “made her feel like she will never be free of you”.
Giving the defendant the required on-third discount for his guilty plea the judge sentenced him to 16 months in prison. Newcome will serve up to half that period in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community. The judge also imposed a new 15-year restraining order banning the defendant from contacting his former partner.
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