"Ashamed" father-of three fined for harassing ex-partner

Martin McGuigan

Reporter:

Martin McGuigan

BREACHING a harassment order held against him by an ex-partner seen an “ashamed” Forkhill man fined at Newry Magistrates Court.

Thirty-year-old John Murphy, of Forest Road, Forkhill, Armagh, was found guilty of harassment and breaching a non-molestation order on April 14 and June 9 this year.

The court heard how Murphy was found to be in breach of the order after he contacted his ex partner - the mother of his three children - via Whatsapp whilst she was in England, stating that he was going to visit the family home where the children were.

Despite being blocked, Murphy rang from a withheld number on June 19 and left a number of unwanted voicemail messages.

After being arrested and questioned on this Murphy admitted to making these calls.

A defence solicitor representing Murphy, said: “He’s a 31-year-old man who was in the wrong relationship which has broken down, but they have three children together. Things escalated and here we are, he’s very apologetic, he was apologetic and cooperative with police. He expressed remorse for what has happened.”

The solicitor said that Murphy had shown absolute contrition and remorse from the outset, saying: “Police asked him if he could see it from her point of view and he said ‘Fully, I’m ashamed, she’s my kids’ mummy, after all.’

“There’s been no repeat and he knows he must contact through the proper channels and he wasn’t fully aware of the conditions of the non-molestation order at the time, but he is now,” said the solicitor.

“I would ask the court to take this into consideration, because it wasn’t a deliberate breach, not to take away from the impact on the injured party, who would have been very upset at the time.”

The solicitor explained to District Judge Eamon King that since the police interview on June 19 there has been no further breaches of the order by Murphy, and asked the Judge to factor this into his sentencing of him.

The District Judge said: “He probably didn’t fully appreciate the significance of the court order, but his appearance here should drive that home.

Addressing Murphy, Judge King said: “There area channels you should use to make contact and I would counsel that you use those.”

Murphy was fined a total of £400, plus an offenders’ levy of £15

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