An “entirely selfish” young man said to be unable to control his emotions has been jailed for persistent pestering and threats to his former partner.

Thomas Jack Robert Brown’s conduct over several months last year and into 2024, ended during a short stay in prison for other matters, but resumed the day after his release last month.

Durham Crown Court heard Brown bombarded his “ex” with phone calls and messages, most of which she tried not to respond to, but when she did, he often made threats to her and her family, as well as putting emotional pressure on her by threatening suicide, and saying what would happen to any future partner.

(Image: Durham Constabulary)

Chris Baker, prosecuting, told the court that after a four-year relationship the pair split in February last year.

Mr Baker said the defendant’s apparently “obsessive” behaviour went on, at times, at all times of the day, seven days a week, starting from last summer.

By January this year the victim said it was getting worse, making her life a misery.

He also threatened to turn up at her place of work, leaving her to fear for her safety even while trying to do her job.

Brown did contact her at work asking to speak to her, as well as at a plant store she attended with family members, claiming he needed to talk to her “urgently”.

Mr Baker said she asked the store to get back to the defendant telling him they would contact the police, which led to him to stop ringing that day.

Brown rang her 71 times one morning, later messaging her saying he was prepared to spend the rest of his life in prison, saying it was only the police, “and your new lad” that would prevent him getting to her.

His threats to her and her family became worse by January this year, and he also sent a photograph of himself with a scarf around his neck as if he was going to hang himself.

Mr Baker said the victim reluctantly answered some calls just for respite from his constant ringing and messaging.

But she refused to block him, fearing he might carry out his threats.

He would also use no caller identity to try to contact her up to 30 times a day.

In her victim statement, read to the court, she outlined the “daily stress” she suffered and her fear of going out, adding that she felt as if she did not have a life, and she was frustrated it had gone on so long.

Following the woman’s signed statement in January, she made a further statement in May, as the messaging had resumed almost immediately upon the defendant’s release from a short prison sentence.

(Image: The Northern Echo)

Mr Baker said Brown was told to leave the woman alone and to go through the proper channels if he did want to make formal contact.

He followed by accusing her of seeing other people and making 22 no caller identity calls through to May 4.

When arrested, Brown admitted having tried to contact his former partner and sending some of the messages while under the influence of cocaine and prescription drugs.

The 24-year-old defendant, of Adamson Street, Ferryhill, admitted two counts of stalking when he appeared before magistrates last month.

His record was said to feature 12 convictions for 23 offences, dating back to 2016, for crimes including harassment, threatening behaviour, criminal damage, possessing an offensive weapon and failing to comply with a community order.

Jamie Adams, in mitigation, said he would not be asking the judge to make a non-custodial order as the defendant had made it clear he would not comply with any community alternative that might be imposed.

Mr Adams said despite the unpleasant nature of the calls and messages, the defendant has not actually carried out any of the threats made.

He said the defendant had a difficult early life, growing up in Newcastle’s West End, where he became a drug user, and his family moved to County Durham to try to develop a new life.

Mr Adams added that for six months the defendant had managed to give up drugs, but it did not stop his attempts to contact his ex-partner.

He added that the defendant has been referred to a number of agencies to try to tackle his issues, including anger management and bereavement counselling, following the death of his grandfather.

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Judge Jo Kidd told Brown, who had repeatedly interrupted the hearing with comments about the evidence: “Everything you have said today and your conduct demonstrates you are an entirely selfish young man with no insight into the distress you have caused, with no ability to control your emotional response.

“I have no doubt you pose a continued threat to her.”

Imposing a 24-month prison sentence she also put in place a restraining order forbidding contact or approaches to his ex-partner, “for an unlimited period.”