Dad breached court order hours after prison release

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A man jailed for repeatedly breaching a restraining order repeated the offence within hours of being released from prison.

Blackburn magistrates heard John Andrew Stevenson turned up at the home of his partner’s mother, but didn’t know his ex would be there.

And the magistrates said they were prepared to give Stevenson the benefit of the doubt and allow him to continue his legal battle to get access to his child.

Stevenson (50), of Manor Road, Clitheroe, pleaded guilty to breach of a restraining order in favour of Gemma Gawthorpe. He was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay £180 criminal court charge and £165 costs. A charge of sexual assault which he had pleaded not guilty to was withdrawn.

Catherine Allan, prosecuting, said Stevenson was released from prison in the morning and committed the latest breach before 5 pm.

She said Miss Gawthorpe was at her mother’s home in Kemple View when she saw him walking up the garden path. Her mother’s partner went outside to try and persuade him to leave, but he stood at the window repeatedly saying he wanted to see his child.

“The child was in the kitchen and began crying,” said Miss Allan. “Miss Gawthorpe took her upstairs and waited for the police to arrive.”

Richard Prew, defending, said on previous occasions Miss Gawthorpe had stood before the court and admitted that she played fast and loose with the restraining order and contact between the defendant and his daughter.

“That is what is behind these offences and at long last progress is being made through the family court,” said Mr Prew. “He only went to her mother’s because he had heard family members were trying to arrange contact with his daughter who he hasn’t seen for a long time. He didn’t know Miss Gawthorpe would be there.”