A NEWPORT man who sent 658 ‘crazy’ text messages to his ex-girlfriend received a three month suspended sentence last week after the court heard he failed to stay away from her.
Ray Collins of Cahergall, Newport sent the ‘unwelcome’ messages over an eleven month period between February 2009 and January 2010 to his ex-girlfriend Sylvia Duffy. Last May, Mr Collins gave an undertaking in Westport District Court to stay away from Ms Duffy and the case was adjourned to see how things progressed.
However, last week’s sittings heard that on the same day after the court Mr Collins went drinking in Nevin’s Pub in Tiernuer, the same pub where Ms Duffy works. Ms Duffy was not on the premises as she was given the day off.
Ms Duffy also told the court that on May 31 she was shopping in Tesco in Westport and when she left, she said Mr Collins followed her in her car until they got to the Leenane Road. On June 18 she said that Mr Collins gave her an aggressive gesture with his fist while she was in Westport and explained that on June 21 she was afraid to get out of her car when she went for a pizza in Newport.
On that evening, Mr Collins passed up and down the street in his car on seven or eight occasions, and she explained that she felt intimidated and called the gardaí.
The court heard she withdrew a complaint against Mr Collins because she wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt and made another complaint in September when she accused the defendant of driving at her at speed. However no charges were brought against Mr Collins because according to his solicitor, Mr James Ward, the claim was ‘not substantiated’.
When asked by Mr Ward if she had a ‘vendetta’ against Mr Collins, Ms Duffy denied this saying that she was the victim and just wanted closure and an opportunity to get on with her life. She said she had to put up with Mr Collins coming up to her and her boyfriend and haveing a conversation as if ‘nothing happened’.
Mr Collins accused Ms Duffy of telling lies and denied that he had failed to comply with the undertaking of the court. He said her concerns were ill-founded and claimed that he was afraid of her because of the way she gives statement to the gardaí.
However, Judge Mary Devins told Mr Collins that he was making a ‘complete idiot of yourself’ and by failing to stay away from Ms Duffy he was being in contempt of court.
She sentenced Mr Collins to three months imprisonment but suspended the sentence for 12 months on the condition he has not contact of any type with Ms Duffy; stays out of the licenced premises where she works, whether she is on duty or not; and has no contact with Ms Duffy’s boyfriend or her family.