South Tyneside man avoids jail after twice breaching restraining order to stay away from woman

A man has narrowly avoided being jailed after being blasted by a judge for his total disregard of court orders.
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District Judge Sarah Griffiths accused Robert Thornton, 38, of Tynemouth Road, Primrose, Jarrow, of being prepared to lie to have things his way.

She jailed him for 30 weeks for two restraining order breaches against his then-partner, but suspended the sentence for two years.

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But told him: “You have shown a blatant disregard for the restraining order.

Robert ThorntonRobert Thornton
Robert Thornton

“You knew the consequences of breaching that order. You made a lot of choices, Mr Thornton, all of them the wrong ones.

“You have shown a complete and blatant disregard for court orders. I have huge concerns about you.

“These are serious offences. You are somebody who is prepared to lie to get what you want.

“I have huge concerns about everything that you say to me.”

South Tyneside Magistrates' CourtSouth Tyneside Magistrates' Court
South Tyneside Magistrates' Court
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South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard jobless Thornton had breached a restraining order not to see the woman.

He did so on Saturday, December 14, and Wednesday, January 8, at her home in South Shields.

The five-year order was imposed in February 2015 after he committed an assault and the court was told he had been jailed for breaching it once before.

On his release, he went to live with her with her full consent but against the orders of the court, but trouble flared twice, leading to the breaches becoming known.

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The first came after the woman’s mobile phone was broken – and Thornton was blamed, it was said.

He pleaded guilty to that breach but denied the damage allegation, which was accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service.

During the second breach, he pulled her hair, which his defence solicitor Val Bell said happened after she hit him with a broomstick.

Thornton also pleaded guilty to causing harassment, alarm or distress by threatening a neighbour on Sunday, May 3.

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He was jailed for 12 weeks for the first breach and 18 weeks for the second, to run concurrently and suspended.

Thornton must complete 30 days of rehabilitation work with the Probation Service and 30 sessions of the Building Better Relationship programme.

He must pay a £122 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.

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