Belfast Telegraph

Helen's Bay man who harassed ex-wife with 'intimate' pics of woman avoids jail

By Paul Higgins

A Co Down man who sent "intimate" photos of a woman to his estranged wife narrowly avoided jail yesterday as his sentences were suspended.

As 45-year-old Mark Samuel Donnan walked free from Newtownards Magistrates Court, District Judge Mark Hamill warned him that "if you behave like this again in the next three years, your starting point is eight months in custody and that will be consecutive to anything else".

Donnan, from Grays Park in Helen's Bay, was before the court on two charges of harassment of his estranged wife in July and August last year and again at the end of January or beginning of February this year.

Sentencing on the earlier offences had been deferred but, as his solicitor conceded yesterday, "there's been further contact".

A prosecuting lawyer outlined that on June 24, Donnan's ex-wife "made a formal complaint about text messages and photos which the defendant had sent".

"These photos were intimate photos sent by the defendant of a woman," said the lawyer.

A further complaint about texts, phone calls and more images was made on August 30.

The latest complaint, which was in breach of the sentencing deferral and a non-molestation order, came on February 2, when Donnan sent his victim 37 messages in which he told her he would "sign the house over" if she dropped the harassment charges.

Donnan's defence solicitor told the court "he has a problem with drink" and was under the influence at the time of each of the offences.

Although Mr Hamill imposed four-month jail sentences on each offence, suspended for three years, he made them consecutive. He also ordered Donnan to pay over £400 in compensation and imposed a two year restraining order.

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