Yeovil man avoids jail after bombarding his partner with abusive calls and messages

A stalker who bombarded his partner with a barrage of abusive calls and messages after accusing her of “promiscuous behavior” narrowly avoided going straight to jail.

Matthew Derek Calway called the victim and sent her hundreds of threatening text messages over a six-month period and also claimed she had been using drugs.

On one occasion he threatened to ‘smash his face’, but when he appeared in court it was said that none of his claims had been backed up by evidence and he was sentenced to a suspended prison sentence.

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Calway, 43, of Combe Park, Yeovil, initially denied following a course of action which amounted to harassment of the victim in that between February 1 and July 23, 2021 he constantly called her and texted him and sent a number of abusive and threatening text messages to him and contacted his family members.

However, he changed his guilty plea on the day he was due to stand trial after expressing “significant remorse” for what he had done, District Judge Angela Brereton said.

The court in Yeovil heard that the volume of calls made to the victim and the involvement of her children as well as hundreds of abusive texts made the offense much more serious.

Prosecutor Emma Lenanton said Calway was of good character prior to the commission of the offence. “However, this case involved persistent action over a long period of time and it clearly had a huge impact on the victim,” she said.

Defense lawyer Neil Priest said his client acknowledged the distress had been caused to the victim, but showed “extreme remorse” for it. He said Calway initially pleaded not guilty because he feared his children were not being properly cared for by the victim.

“He was concerned that the complainant had engaged in promiscuous behavior while the children were present and was also concerned about drug use,” he said.

“However, neither has been backed up by any evidence and he has now acted appropriately and accepts that he did not treat him properly.” He kept harassing her and saying the same things insulting and abusive text messages and he was really out of control and didn’t deal with it in a mature way.”

He added that there had been no issues since the incident and that Calway was concerned about a possible custodial sentence as he had the day-to-day responsibility of caring for his mother. District Judge Brereton said there had been persistent and abusive contact over a six-month period and sentenced the defendant to 10 weeks in prison, suspended for two years.

“There was a threat to smash his face over other men, you also got the kids involved and the victim had to turn his life around,” she said.

He must also participate in a Building Better Relationships program and a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement with costs of £150 and a victim surcharge of £128. She also imposed a restraining order prohibiting Calway from contacting the victim or visiting her home for one year.

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