'Wicked' Northampton man jailed for four years after making woman's life 'a misery' for 25 years

A judge called it the "most wicked breach of a restraining order that could be imagined"

Friday, 21st May 2021, 4:39 pm
Updated Friday, 21st May 2021, 4:49 pm

A judge has scolded the "wicked" attempts of a Northampton man who tried to sue a woman for £8,500 after "making her life a misery" for 25 years.

Northampton Crown Court briefly heard on May 21 how Andrew Shortland, of Lockroft Square, Northampton, had reportedly been pestering his victim with letters, unwanted contact and unpleasant exchanges since 1997 despite restraining orders.

But a judge scolded the 56-year-old for capping out the two decades of harassment by then trying to sue the woman for more than £8,000 over perceived damages.

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Andrew Shortland has been jailed for four years after he decided the next avenue for contacting a woman who had a restraining order against him was to sue her.
Andrew Shortland has been jailed for four years after he decided the next avenue for contacting a woman who had a restraining order against him was to sue her.

"I have heard briefly the misery you have caused for this woman deliberately, persistently and selfishly since 1997," said His Honour Judge Rupert Mayo.

"[The attempt to sue the victim] is the most wicked and persistent breach of a restraining order that could be imagined."

The court heard Shortland was previously jailed for six years in 2016 for breaching his restraining order against her - but upon his release, he decided his next avenue to contact the woman was to sue her.

Through a series of letters he served "unfounded" civil proceedings against her in 2020 over perceived damages and claimed that he was entitled to £8,500.

However, the letters were instead treated as separate counts of sending intimidating letters in breach of his order and he was sent back to prison.

The court heard a victim impact statement from the woman of how her fears that Shortland would contact her again had made her life "a misery".

"And not just on this occasion," said Judge Mayo. "But in incidents over the past 25 years."

Shortland was subsequently jailed for four and a half years. He was also serve a new restraining order that now only bars him from contacting the woman, but also prevents him from beginning any kind of legal proceedings against the woman without permission of a high court judge - intending to block any means of him reaching her.