Former soldier from Horsham St Faith made threats to kill ex-partner

A former soldier who made threats to kill himself and his former partner following a row over Christmas presents has been warned he could go to prison.

David Phillips, 54, of The Warren, Horsham St Faith, near Norwich, appeared yesterday at Norwich Magistrates Court where he pleaded guilty to harassment.

The court heard that the charge relates to messages that were left on his ex-partner's answer phone after December 21 including on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Oliver Haswell, prosecuting, said Phillips, who is the subject of a harassment warning from police, meaning he cannot contact his former partner, wanted to celebrate Christmas by getting presents for her boy.

Mr Haswell said he tried to arrange delivery of the presents to her address in Newton St Faith but heard nothing. He then dropped the presents off on her doorstep but again heard nothing and so phoned her on Christmas Day and left an abusive message.

Mr Haswell said: 'He went onto add he would hit her over the head and this was said in a threatening manner. Further to that the following day, December 26, a further message was left saying 'I'm going to take my life and a couple of people with me in February. You might be one of the lucky ones that I take out''.

Mr Haswell said the victim, who received a further message, contacted police who arrested Phillips.

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The court heard that Phillips had a caution for a similar matter back in 2003 when he left a message for a previous partner which said 'I'm going to string you up like a chicken'.

Rebecca Saunders, mitigating, said Phillips, had a three-year-relationship with the victim, which ended some months ago, and treated her son like his own. She said he fully accepted how the messages made her feel but had wanted to 'hurt her and scare her and make her feel some of the pain he was feeling'.

She said her client, who spent 14 years serving in the armed forces in Northern Ireland and suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and bipolar disorder, 'would never' have carried anything out because he loves the little boy and the one thing that would 'hurt him more than anything' would be to take away his mother.

Miss Saunders said Phillips, who had spent three months at Hellesdon Hospital prior to Christmas and who has had three periods under section since 2007 as a result of his (PTSD), had been under the care of the crisis team when the offence occurred.

She said he complies extremely well with his medication and meets his appointments but wanted to take the boy Christmas presents and got very upset that he could not see him or have contact and so consumed a quantity of alcohol over the Christmas period.

Magistrates adjourned sentencing until January 25 so reports can be prepared but warned Phillips that a custodial sentence was an option.

He was granted bail until the next date with conditions, including that he resides at his home address and sleeps there, he does not contact the victim, does not enter Newton St Faith and complies with mental health services and probation.