Teenager who bombarded ex-girlfriend with threatening messages before knife attack gets suspended sentence

A Northampton teenager who bombarded his ex-girlfriend with threatening messages and then attacked her while armed with a knife has avoided a jail sentence.

Saturday, 20th August 2016, 6:05 am
Updated Saturday, 20th August 2016, 12:25 pm
Northampton Crown Court

Adam Barker, aged 19, launched a campaign of harassment against a woman who had been in a relationship with for a year after they split up at the start of 2016.

Northampton Crown Court heard Barker “did not take the break up well” and called his ex-girlfriend dozens of times until she had to change her number.

Adrian Harris, prosecuting, said Barker then began sending messages via email, Facebook and an online gaming service.

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Mr Harris said Barker told his girlfriend he had a “boiling hatred” and told her to “keep an eye out”.

The court heard the woman contacted the police and closed down her Facebook page in an attempt to stop the messages. She also reported Barker to the online games administrator.

However, Barker told her he had “unlimited” email accounts and a “dynamic” IP address so he would always find new ways to contact her.

Barker sent a message to the ex-girlfriend saying if she blocked all digital methods he would “have to get physical”.

In one message he said: “The only reason I’m alive is because vengeance drives me. She’ll be dead before me.

“Don’t bother with your evidence folder. You’re only making this worse for yourself.”

Mr Harris said: “It was a constant bombardment of messages demanding answers to questions she did not understand.”

The court heard on July 14 the victim had her driving test and then returned to her home in Daventry.

As she walked to her front door, Barker jumped out from behind her car and pushed her into a fence.

Barker grabbed her from behind and held his arm around her throat and said “I’m going to kill you.”

The woman’s mother and brother came out of the house and they managed to get Barker off her and he ran away.

The court heard the woman remembers Barker had something in his hand, which was later identified as a knife.

Barker was arrested by police a short while later. The victim suffered cuts to her chin, mouth and knee.

In police interview, Barker accepted that “on reflection” his actions had constituted harassment.

He told officers he wanted a “final confrontation” and the knife was a mechanism to get answers.

Paul Nicholls, mitigating, said his client was an “immature” man who could not deal with the break up of his first relationship.

He said Barker suffered from “self esteem issues and depression.”

Recorder Graham Huston said Barker’s behaviour towards his ex-girlfriend was “extremely worrying.”

He said: “After a period of sustained period of sustained, persistent and calculated messages you armed yourself with a knife and took that knife to his address.

“You attacked her and told her you wanted to kill her.

“These were extremely vile messages you bombarded her with. I am absolutely convinced she thought you were going to kill her.

“It is all very well talking about your lack of life experience and depression but you carefully chose the words in the messages you sent to her.

“You deliberately chose to send messages that created fear. You knew exactly what you were doing.”

Barker, of Wilford Avenue, Northampton, who pleaded guilty to harassment, assault, possession of a knife and a threat to kill, was sentenced to six months in jail, suspended for two years. He must also complete a 40-day rehabilitation order.

He was also given a restraining order banning him from the area of Daventry where the ex-girlfriend lives.