Woman stands by ex-partner after he ransacked her home

The Royal Court Picture: JON GUEGAN. (37644888)

AN Islander who ransacked his ex-partner’s house after becoming obsessed that she was seeing another man has been spared jail – because she is now standing by him.

Grant Barry Hepburn went through the woman’s belongings, read her diary and checked messages on her mobile phone, the Royal Court heard.

On another occasion he shouted abuse and threats at her.

But despite the prosecution calling for a two-year jail term, the 32-year-old received 110 hours of community service.

Referring to the woman’s support for Hepburn, Commissioner Alan Binnington said: “It is this unusual feature that has led us to deal with this matter in the way that we have.”

Outlining the case, Crown Advocate Carla Carvalho, prosecuting, said the pair “had had an on-off relationship” and that Hepburn was “obsessed with the prospect of her seeing another man”.

That obsession had led him to enter her house and go through her belongings while shouting abuse at her.

Crown Advocate Carvalho added that one evening Hepburn returned to the woman’s house and refused to leave when she told him to.

He admitted an offence under Jersey’s new domestic-abuse laws.

The court heard that Hepburn had previous convictions for violence, theft, drugs, public order and motoring offences and was deemed at high risk of reconviction.

The Crown Advocate said that although the defendant had pleaded guilty to the offences he had not done so at the earliest opportunity.

She recommended a two-year prison sentence, saying: “A message should be sent that domestic abuse is a serious matter. It is too serious for a non-custodial sentence.”

However Advocate James Bell, defending, pointed out that Hepburn had already spent some time in custody while awaiting sentencing.

He said: “He acknowledges that at the time he was misusing drugs. He was in a deluded state.”

He added that Hepburn’s ex-partner had not called for a restraining order and remained supportive of him.

“In the fullness of time she is contemplating the potential for them to reconcile fully,” he said.

“There’s that forgiveness. There’s that reconciliation.”

Commissioner Binnington said the Jurats had noted how the woman had been left frightened in her own home and had reported how more peaceful and calm her life had become while Hepburn was in custody.

But he said they also accepted she was now supporting him and that this had impacted their sentencing decision.

Hepburn was given an 18-month probation order as well as the community service, and was ordered to complete drug treatment and relapse prevention programmes.

The Jurats sitting were Kim Averty and Andrew Cornish.

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