In an “exasperated” phone-call to the police, an Eastwood man said he was going to kill his wife after a long-running Facebook spat, a court heard.
But the threats to take the law into his own hands landed Philip Randle, 47, of Scargill Walk, in court and brought his five-year marriage to an end.
Nottingham Magistrates’ Court heard that the dispute between Randle and his estranged wife, Lesley, had been going on for some time, and a restraining order had been imposed on him, banning him from contacting her.
Although they didn’t speak or text directly, they tracked messages about each other that were posted on Facebook.
Randle’s solicitor, Tim Holder, mitigating, said in mid-September last year, Mrs Randle “made noises about wanting them to be reconciled” and a court date was even set to squash the restraining order.
“But then difficulties came, “ said Mr Holder. “Mrs Randle had borrowed money from her husband’s father and loans had not been repaid, so there were fall-outs.
“Philip Randle suffered from ingrained alcohol difficulties, and also stress, paranoia and mental-health issues, which led to suicidal tendencies, and he was admitted to hospital.
“When he first rang the police, saying he was fed-up with all the secondary communication and disparaging remarks, they promised an officer would visit him. But nothing happened and he was admitted to hospital again.”
Mr Holder said that, as Randle’s drinking got worse, he went to the police station on one occasion, not fully attired and still in ill health. The next day, he made the “exasperated” call that formed the basis of the charge against him.
“It was largely hot air, but he upset the operator, who was troubled by his remarks, and he fully apologises for that,” added Mr Holder.
“The relationship with his wife is now at an end. There will be no more contact.”
Rod Chapman, prosecuting, said Mrs Randle was relieved that this “distressing” incident had brought their problems to a head.
“The abuse has continued throughout our five-year relationship,” she said in a statement. “I have reported previous matters, and I cannot carry on. I just want to be left alone to get on with my life.”
Randle, who has 18 previous convictions, pleaded guilty to conveying a message that was grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing on Monday, January 11.
Deputy District Judge Nala Lawrence sentenced him to a community order of 12 months, which must include a six-month course to treat his drinking problems. He was also told to pay court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £60.