(U.K.) Fireman Ben Walker began a campaign of harassment against his estranged wife just hours after being convicted of violently assaulting her. The violent thug was convicted of punching, kicking, throttling and even holding a power drill to the stomach of Amanda in May. But the abuse did not stop after he was convicted of assault by beating and common assault.
Newcastle Magistrates’ Court heard the “obsessed and intimidating” former crew manager at Gateshead East Community Fire Station bombarded his wife with text messages leaving her “suicidal”.
Walker, 31, who has been living at his father’s house in Staffordshire since moving out of the High Heaton home the couple shared, pleaded guilty to harassment and said afterwards he hoped he could now “start his life again”.
Prosecutor Rebecca Gibson said Walker’s “vile campaign of harassment” against his wife who he met on the internet and married after a six-month romance, had started the same day he was convicted and quickly escalated.
“The Crown requested a restraining order but the defence claimed that it wasn’t necessary because Walker accepted that the marriage was over and he was going to move away,” she said.
“But since that day he has sent her over 100 text messages.”
Magistrates heard that on May 8 Walker went to his former marital home, on Southlands, and persistently banged on the door for over half an hour. When his wife didn’t answer, he waited until she left the house and then followed her and prevented her from getting out of the car.
The court also heard a Facebook page was also set up to support Walker, with 220 members, on which many “vile and threatening comments” were posted.
Ms Gibson said Amanda was “traumatised” by what had happened and that she has gone from a “happy, highly confident individual to a physical wreck”. She said: “Her peace of mind has gone, she feels a prisoner in her own home and is scared to answer the phone or socialise with friends as she fears retaliations. She has had substantial time off work due to stress and her job is at risk.
“Her faith in men has been shattered and she can’t start relationships. It’s turned her world upside down and she can’t sleep. It is an ever present worry. She will spend the rest of her life wondering if she is at risk. She is under the long-term care of her GP and at her lowest she felt suicidal.”
When arrested Walker admitted sending texts with the aim of reconciling the relationship. Denise Jackman, defending Walker, said her client had misunderstood an instruction to send future legal letters directly to Amanda as a sign she was contemplating reconciliation.
“Walker thought it was her way of wanting to sort things out,” she said. “He accepts he texted her but nobody has seen all of these 100 texts. He knows the position he’s in.
Ms Jackman added: “He met this lady and then his life went down the pan. He accepts his marriage is at an end.”
Walker was handed a 24-month community order, with supervision, and 66 hours unpaid work. He was also slapped with a two-year restraining order with conditions not to contact Amanda Walker unless through his solicitor.
Speaking outside court after the hearing last week, Walker said he wanted to put his “disastrous” marriage behind him. He added: “I’m very sorry to be leaving the North East.”
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