‘Bully’ jailed for Facebook posts about former partner

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A man wrote a series of disparaging social media posts about an ex-partner in a “flagrant” breach of a restraining order, a court has heard.

Darren Joseph O’Connor made the comments about the woman on Facebook, adding that he “wouldn’t be silenced”.

But now the 47-year-old has been sent to jail, with a judge describing him as “arrogant” and “a bully”.

Swansea Crown Court heard that in December last year O’Connor was handed a suspended sentence and made the subject of a restraining order after an incident which had seem him smashing a former partner’s garden fence with a sledgehammer, and then attacking a neighbour who intervened with an extendable police-style baton.

Hannah George, prosecuting, said then in March this year the defendant posted a number of disparaging messages on Facebook which, while not naming the victim, were clearly about his ex.

One of the postings was described by the barrister as a “stream of consciousness” about the woman with the defendant adding that he “wouldn’t be silenced”, while another included her picture.

The court heard one of the messages was posted on March 24, the day after O’Connor was sentenced at Swansea Crown for a separate breach of the restraining order – this breach related to an abandoned 999 call made by the victim who police subsequently found under a duvet in his bedroom. On this occasion the  court had decided not to activate the suspended sentence the defendant was subject to.

O’Connor, of Kenfig Place, Bonymaen, Swansea, had previously pleaded guilty to four counts of breaching a restraining order when he appeared in the dock for sentencing.

The court heard he has 12 previous convictions for 20 offences including criminal damage, public order matters, possession of an offensive weapon, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Lee Davies, for O’Connor, said the defendant understood that the court “takes a dim view” of people who breach its orders, but he said the breach was not of the most serious kind which the court sees.

The advocate said his client accepted his conduct had been foolish and unacceptable, and that posting a message the day after being sentenced for a breach was “stupid in the extreme”.

Judge Geraint Walters told O’Connor the judge who had sentenced him in December had given him a chance by imposing a suspended sentence, while the judge who had dealt with him in March had given him a further opportunity by not activating that sentence.

He said: “The question is, can I find it within myself to give you another chance? I fear I cannot.”

The judge described the defendant as a “bully” who “victimised” his ex-partner, adding: “It seems to me you are an arrogant individual who does not respect court orders.”

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He sentenced him to a total of six months prison for breaching the restraining order, and he activated six months of the previously imposed suspended sentence – the sentences will run consecutively, making an overall sentence of 12 months.

O’Connor will serve half that period in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community.



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