Ex-girlfriend ‘lives in fear’

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A 10-PINTS-A-DAY drinker has been remanded in custody for leaving a woman’s life “overshadowed with fear”.

Darren Morris breached a restraining order and smashed a window in a fit of temper when his ex-partner refused to get back with him.

The 40-year-old appeared in custody at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court after being arrested for a string of offences which left his ex-partner, with whom he was involved in a relationship with for just seven months, “horrified”.

Justices heard that the couple’s relationship ended three months ago. But Morris was given an indefinite restraining order and a community order with a four-week curfew at a court hearing on March 31 when he was convicted of damaging her property and garden gate with a hammer.

But on the day his curfew ceased on April 28, he went to his ex-partner’s house at 4pm, started knocking on the door, and when she asked him to leave he went into the back garden, said prosecutor Joanne Hesse.

The court heard Morris was drunk and threatened to kill himself when she told him they were not getting back together and he should not be at her house.

But after initially leaving, he returned around 10.30pm drunk and carrying bottles of vodka and cider in a bag.

“He asked if he could come in for a drink and when she refused, he punched the front window causing it to smash,” said Mrs Hesse. “The defendant then stood across the road shouting and swearing.”

In police interview he admitted what he had done and said he punched the window in a “fit of temper”.

Morris was released on police bail and just two days later, when his former girlfriend was walking to some shops, a neighbour pulled up alongside her and told her that a man appeared to be following her.

The woman saw the man was Morris and she “froze with fear”, before fleeing with him close behind her “prodding her in the back” and shouting and swearing.

She sought safety in a shop and when police arrived they saw “she was shaking and struggling to compose herself due to being so distressed”, Mrs Hesse told the court.

Morris’s ex-girlfriend provided the court with an victim impact statement which read: “My life is completely overshadowed with fear”, and “I’m shaken and afraid to go to sleep at night”.

Morris, of Harwich Grove, off Seaton Lane, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to three counts of breaching a restraining order and causing criminal damage to a window on April 28, and failing to comply with a curfew order on April 16 and 17.

Mitigating, Stuart Haywood said: “He has a chronic alcohol problem and drinks around six litres of cider per day. He struggles with depression and hadn’t been taking medication at the time of these offences.”

Chairman of the bench Nigel Guerin remanded Morris in custody until May 27.