Belfast Telegraph

Strabane man 'sent multitude of abusive and threatening texts to ex-girlfriend', court hears

A man allegedly threatening to kill his ex-partner tried to send hundreds of social media messages in an "appalling" campaign of harassment, the High Court heard today.

Lee Doherty, 23, targeted the woman over a two-month period up to the end of October, prosecutors claimed.

He was refused bail after a judge ruled that the risk of him re-offending was too high.

Doherty, of St Colman's Drive in Strabane, Co Tyrone, is charged with two counts each of harassment and threats to kill.

The court heard the alleged offences began after he separated from the woman with whom he has a young child.

A prosecution barrister said a "multitude" of texts and social media messages became increasingly abusive and threatening.

It included 645 blocked attempts at contact through the Blackberry messenger system.

The woman, who lives across the border in Donegal, fears Doherty may be capable of carrying out the alleged threats, the court heard.

She was said to base her concerns on past experience of his erratic behaviour and unstable state of mind.

Although shown to the judge, the messages' contents were shown to the judge.

Mr Justice Burgess took issue with defence counsel describing them as "unpleasant".

He replied: "They are appalling - threats against this lady and a six-month-old child."

The judge said he was in no doubt they would have "engendered a high level of fear".

He continued: "The allegation is that the text messages show he's simply intent on visiting violence on anyone who had any relationship with her."

Emphasising the difficulties on stopping any further actions through social media, Mr Justice Burgess said he could not be confident Doherty would abide by release conditions.

Refusing bail, he confirmed: "I think there's a high risk of re-offending."

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