A BULLY who threatened to petrol bomb his ex-girlfriend’s Rugby home if she went to the police about his ‘vicious behaviour’ towards her has been freed from prison.
Luke Manning, who had been remanded in custody for six weeks following his arrest, pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to harassing his former partner.
Manning, 28, of Privet Road, Bell Green, Coventry, was sentenced to nine months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work and to undertake a Building Better Relationships programme.
Prosecutor Ian Speed said the charge encompassed a number of incidents directed at his ex over a three-day period.
On March 12 Manning confronted her outside her home saying in a loud voice: “You think this is funny.”
He grabbed her by her hair and began pulling her around, banged her head into the windscreen of a car and pulled her earrings off, which he kept.
And before leaving, Manning threatened her: “If you ring the police, I’ll petrol bomb your house, even if I have to send someone else to do it.”
He returned later and began kicking her front door, causing £20 damage to the letterbox.
The following day the victim was having a meal at a local pub with members of her family when Manning turned up and told her: “I’ll meet you outside your mum’s.”
“When they left after their meal, he followed them bumper-to-bumper, and then sat outside the house in an intimidating manner,” said Mr Speed.
The next day the police were called to the woman’s home where they found Manning sitting in his car outside the house, and arrested him for the assault two days earlier.
He told them: “I only grabbed her. That’s not assault, is it? I didn’t pull her hair, I only pulled her earrings out.”
Mr Speed said Manning had limited previous convictions, and none of them violence-related.
He added that the victim’s mother has been visiting Manning in prison, taking their one-year-old child to see him.
Preet-Paul Tutt, defending, conceded: “Although the incidents in isolation are not of the most serious nature, taken together they present a disturbing picture.
“But it was an isolated period, and she herself says she didn’t believe the threats made.
“He has been in custody now since March 16, the equivalent of a 12-week sentence, and it has been a sobering experience for him.
“It has given him some serious time to sober up and clear his mind, and to reflect and get some perspective on his life and what he wants for his future.
“He recognises his behaviour was completely unacceptable, and he is remorseful and sorry.”
Mr Tutt said Manning had turned to hard drugs following the death of his father, and had relapsed because of his struggle to cope with his emotions when his relationship with the victim ended.
Sentencing Manning, Judge Anthony Potter told him: “You pleaded guilty to one offence of harassment which encompassed acts of persistent aggression towards a woman who it seems once held you dear and was the mother of your young son.
“The activity you indulged in was particularly unattractive – physical assault, taking her property in the street, and then threatening to petrol-bomb her home, stalking her and her family, and remaining outside their property, causing panic.
“While (the victim) did not believe you would carry out your threats, her mother was clearly legitimately concerned about your bullying, vicious behaviour towards her daughter.”
Judge Potter also imposed a restraining order banning Manning from contacting his ex other than through her mother to arrange contact with their son.