Dog groomer handed restraining order for drunken texts abusing the charity worker who helped set up her business

Low was told to reappear at Northampton Crown Court in August.
Low was told to reappear at Northampton Crown Court in August.

A Northampton woman has been given a restraining order and told to sober up after sending a series of "vile" text messages to a Christian charity's member of staff.

Sarah How, 46, a mother-of-three from Birchfield Road East, off Park Avenue North, Northampton, pleaded guilty to religiously aggravated harassment against a female member of staff at the former Barnabus Business Ltd and appeared in Northampton Crown Court yesterday for sentencing.

She drunkenly sent the messages after her dog grooming business, which the charity had supported her to set up, and her house fell into rent arrears.

One message read: "Stop blaming God for everything. God is a sad excuse and if you don't understand that you'll die alone."

How set up her dog grooming business on the premises of a house she rented from the charity worker - who is an ex-police officer - as part of a help scheme with Barnabus Business Ltd.

But How fell into rent arrears and arguments quickly began between the two.

The court heard how one of their conversations ended with How having a drink and sending "a great number" of messages to the charity worker.

Other messages read: "Keep on with your weird perception of Christianity. You've poisoned any concept I had of a Christian.

"I'm sure I'm satanic for disagreeing, you mad woman. Get a grip."

How's barrister, John Hallissey, said: "She saw what she had said the next day and messaged again to how sorry she was and that she was disgusted by the vile messages.

"She has been sober since New Year's Eve and has not had a drink in four months."

But the court heard in a victim impact statement how the charity worker had suffered from anxiety, sleeplessness and panic attacks since the messages as How was still living at the rented house.

How also reported the charity worker to the Professional Standards Team of Northamptonshire Police and lodged "malicious" complaints against her.

How was given a deferred sentence and told to reappear at Northampton Crown Court in August.

Her Honour Judge Adrienne Lucking said: "I want you to know that you will come back to this court and you will have been abstinent from alcohol since then. If you touch alcohol, you will be in breach of the bargain I am making with you here today.

"Only you can save yourself."