Harrogate man jailed for breaching restraining order after threatening to kill woman

A Harrogate man has been jailed for six months after he tried to ‘follow’ a woman on Instagram while on a restraining order designed to protect her.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 9:45 am
Updated Monday, 7th June 2021, 9:46 am

John Paul Mortimer, 45, had been slapped with the order in 2019 after threatening to kill the named woman in a previous incident.

But after spotting her in Harrogate town centre in May this year, after being released on prison licence, he sent her a ‘follow’ request on the social-media site in breach of the injunction, York Crown Court heard.

John Paul Mortimer, 45, had been slapped with the order in 2019 after threatening to kill the named woman in a previous incident.

Jailing Mortimer for six months, Recorder Richard Woolfall said: “I don’t think I have seen a record like it for threats to kill.”

Prosecutor Matthew Collins said Mortimer saw the named woman on two occasions in May when she was driving through Harrogate and Mortimer just happened to be crossing the road.

After seeing her on the second occasion, he created an Instagram account and made a request to ‘follow’ her, which was forbidden under the terms of the restraining order which prohibited any contact.

The order had been imposed at the Crown Court in September 2019 along with a 40-month jail sentence.

The woman reported the breach to police and Mortimer was arrested. He was charged with breaching the order and recalled to prison.

Mortimer, of Ashfield Terrace, admitted the breach and appeared for sentence via video link on Friday.

The court heard he had 20 previous convictions for 39 offences - most recently the threat to kill the woman which led to the restraining order. His rap sheet also included convictions for violence, harassment and disobeying court orders.

In 2012, Mortimer was jailed for two years and eight months for making threats to kill and received another prison sentence in 2007 for the same behaviour and harassment.

Defence barrister Kristina Goodwin conceded that Mortimer had an “extremely unenviable” record.

She said he had flagged down a police car in the town centre once he realised they were looking for him and admitted the offence at the first time of asking.

Recorder Mr Woolfall told Mortimer: “You have got a particularly bad record for offences of threats to kill - I don’t think I’ve ever seen a record quite like it. You have repeatedly been sent to prison for (such) offences.”

He said the original offence of threatening to kill the woman had had a “significant” effect on her.

She was now “very careful not to leave a trace of where she lives because she’s anxious that (Mortimer) might try to get in touch with her again”.

He said the victim’s “distress” was aggravated by Mortimer’s appalling record.

Mortimer’s six-month jail sentence for the breach was practically immaterial because he still had to serve the remainder of his original prison term which had another year-and-a-half to run.

The restraining order will remain in place for an indefinite period and Mortimer will remain behind bars until next year.