Jail sentence after late guilty plea

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A Sutton man has been jailed for 12 weeks after pleading guilty to harassing his former partner and writing off her car.

Christopher Leigh Keeling, 23 appeared at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, charged with harassment, breaching a restraining order and causing criminal damage.

Prosecuting, Neil Hullett, said Keeling of Priestsic Road, had been in an off-and-on relationship with Emma Hands for nine months, which had ‘turned bad’.

District Judge Diane Baker heard Keeling had become very “controlling”. On 19th August, he was issued with a restraining order to stop him contacting Ms Hands or from going to her address. But in the early hours of 31st August, she saw Keeling drunk, battering her car with a bat or a bar.

Keeling was arrested after his attack caused more than £1,000 damage to the car which was written off. She had been unable to replace the car and her children had suffered as she had been unable to drive them to and from school.

The court heard it was not the first time he had damaged the vehicle, having slashed the tyres on a previous occasion. She now felt vulnerable and that she had to look over her shoulder on the street. Defending, Chris Perry, said Keeling had difficulty dealing with the emotional side of the relationship and had become angry and bitter. He had shown no remorse and saw the damage as a way of release.

Keeling was sentenced to 12 weeks concurrently for breaching the restraining order, 12 weeks for criminal damage and one week for a bail act offence, with a two-year restraining order.