Man Who Bombarded Estranged Partner With Phone Calls and Text Messages Admits Harassment

PUBLISHED: 11:28 24 May 2010 | UPDATED: 13:35 02 June 2010

A CONCERNED dad who bombarded his estranged partner with phone calls and text messages throughout the night has admitted a charge of harassment. Richard Turnell had been asked not to contact Tina Austin that night because she had a friend staying - but h

A CONCERNED dad who bombarded his estranged partner with phone calls and text messages throughout the night has admitted a charge of harassment.

Richard Turnell had been asked not to contact Tina Austin that night because she had a friend staying - but he began to make calls in the early hours.

The couple's children were staying with grandparents, and Turnell was concerned about the youngsters, Ely magistrates were told.

Turnell, 29, began phoning and texting just before 1am. Tina Austin ignored some calls, but reassured Turnell about the children during one call.

"He continued to call her on her mobile phone, and she switched it to silent," said prosecutor Laura Mardell. Around 2.15am Turnell arrived at his former partner's home in Wilburton, rang the doorbell and began shouting.

Warned that the police would be called, Turnell left the property, but within minutes he began sending text messages and phoning. Those calls lasted for around an hour, said Miss Mardell.

At 6am Turnell left a voice mail message to say he would collect the children, and at 7.30am he was back at his estranged wife's home, with the children in the car.

"There was a slight struggle, the defendant accused her of being a bad mother and said he would take the children away," added Miss Mardell.

Turnell, of Cottier Drive, Littleport, admitted harassing Tina Austin between May 6 and 9, by sending text messages, making phone calls, and visiting her home address and her parents' home.

Mitigating, Jacqui Baldwin said the couple's nine-year relationship had ended two years ago, although Turnell only moved out a year ago.

"This was one protracted incident," she said. "He felt he was doing the right thing. He was concerned about a missed call on his phone, and he had tried to contact his former partner and her parents, but received no response."

Sentencing was adjourned until June 17 for a pre-sentence report to be prepared, and Turnell was given conditional bail.

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