Paranoid North Notts man fitted tracking device to ex's car

Latest news from Mansfield Magistrates Court
Latest news from Mansfield Magistrates Court

A "paranoid" North Notts man who tried to control his partner for nearly a year by placing tracking and recording devices in her car has been threatened with prison.

Prosecutor Leanne Townshend described how Gary Burton used coercive and controlling behaviour while living with the woman, in Bircotes, from June 2018 and May 2019.

On one occasion he left a voicemail saying: "I felt like setting fire to you."

Burton became "extremely possessive and controlling", made " repeated accusations", and "installed a CCTV system so he would know when she entered or left his house," said Ms Townshend.

"He drove away in her vehicle, he would go through her mobile phone and social media accounts.

"When she found the devices in her car, he smashed them in front of her.

"She alleges tha the would take cash from her purse.

"He would make comments about her appearance and friends. It began to affect her confidence at work and she was prescribed medication."

The court heard their 11-year relationship ended two years previously, but they had been cohabiting at the same address.

Pamela Coxon, mitigating, said Burton had always accepted his behaviour, and there were "two sides to every story."

She said: "She is still doing whatever it is she wants to do that he disapproves of.

"He accepts he has broken the law. This relationship went bad a couple of years ago."

The court heard he received counselling for paranoia, three years ago, and was "scared about being on his own without her, or his daughter."

Burton, 39, of Ash Grove, Auckley, Doncaster, admitted controlling and coercive behaviour, when he appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court, on Wednesday.

District judge Jonathan Taaffe told him: "It's quite clear that the effect on her has been significant and serious.

"This is a serious matter. There is a victim in this case. To your credit you acknowledge that.

"You have admitted your guilt in court - and that is the only factor which stops me from sending you to prison."

Burton was given a 26 week sentence, suspended for 18 months, with 31 sessions of a healthy relationships course.

He must pay £85 costs and a £115 government surcharge. A five year restraining order banning him from contacting his ex partner was also imposed.

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