Staithes man jailed for court breach

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A MAN was found by police hiding in the loft of his ex-girlfriend’s Staithes home despite being subject to a court order to stay away from her.

Thomas Skelton was said at York Crown Court on Thursday (July 26) to have a “fixation” with Jessica Bailey, the mother of their two-and-a-half daughter.

The court heard that despite being under a Restraining order to stay away from and not contact Miss Bailey, Skelton, 23, of no fixed abode, repeatedly breached the order, pushing a mobile phone with a message on it through her letterbox, peering through her windows and calling her.

Rob Galley, prosecuting, told how finally, after Miss Bailey discovered a broken window and traces of insulation on the floor beneath a loft hatch on May 24, the police were called to find Skelton hiding in the roof space.

The court heard that Skelton, who has 13 previous convictions for 23 offences, had already served a prison sentence for breaching the restraining order, ignoring it again only days after being released.

Skelton appeared for sentencing having previously pleaded guilty to charges of breaching the order and criminal damage.

Taryn Turner, mitigating, said that her client, formerly of Scarborough, had been homeless on his release from prison on May 4, being rejected by his brother and spending several nights “sofa surfing” with friends.

Adding that Skelton appeared to have “something of a fixation” about this young lady, Mrs Turner said he had had a difficult adolescence and childhood.

Describing the breach as “blatant”, The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, said: “It may be that you have obsessional feelings towards your former girlfriend, but she is entitled to live her life in safety”.

He added that immediate custody was the only course open to the court to show that restraining orders were not to be ignored.

Skelton was jailed for 12 months, the court also making a fresh restraining order to keep him away from Miss Bailey, with a warning being issued by the judge that any further breach could lead to a maximum of five years imprisonment.