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Man who harassed ex after release from prison on child sex offences gets suspended sentence

'I am astonished that it never once entered his head, how the offences for which he were imprisoned would impact on other people, including his girlfriend'

A Craigavon man who harassed his ex with messages upon his release from prison for having sex with a teenager has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Sentencing the 32-year-old, the district judge commented: “I am astonished that it never once entered his head, how the offences for which he were imprisoned would impact on other people, including his girlfriend.”

Liam Thornbury, of Lakelands, appeared for sentencing on harassment at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Prosecution revealed how on April 26 of this year, police were contacted by the injured party, the ex-partner of the defendant.

She reported that Thornbury had been harassing her since his release from prison in February, providing police with 72 screenshots of exchanges between the two with the content of her messages making it clear she did not want further contact.

After blocking the defendant’s number, the injured party reported he had once more sent her a number of messages from an alias Instagram account.

Interviewed on June 1, Thornbury admitted sending the messages and setting up the false Instagram account.

He asked police to pass on a letter to the injured party stating that he wanted closure and this request was refused.

After it being pressed upon the defendant, he admitted that his behaviour towards his ex-partner did amount to harassment.

Defence barrister Conor Lunny stated “nothing” could be said to mitigate the content of the messages, branding his client’s behaviour as “immature” and “nasty”.

He explained that Thornbury had learned of his ex-partner’s wish to end the relationship shortly before his release from prison and this was the context for this offence.

Mr Lunny commented that there had been no incidents since and Thornbury remained under the auspices of a licence period.

District Judge Bernie Kelly stated that she “could not fathom” why the defendant could not understand that his girlfriend no longer wished to be in a relationship with him.

Thornbury received a one year prison sentence, half of which was to be spent on licence, back in August of last year at Craigavon Crown Court for having sex with a teenage schoolgirl.

“I am astonished that it never once entered his head, how the offences for which he were imprisoned would impact on other people, including his girlfriend,” the district judge said.

“He was not content with her telling him it was over. He went on a spree of harassment over three months right up to creating a fake account on social media….that is a fair degree of determination.”

Thornbury was sentenced to three months in prison suspended for two years and a restraining order was put in place for a period of two years.

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