Pensioner escapes jail after admitting homophobic slurs

PUBLISHED: 10:00 23 July 2014

Archant

A WESTON pensioner who unleashed torrents of abuse at his ex-girlfriend and her friend has narrowly avoided jail because of a heart condition.

Gordon Jackson of Trevelyan Road appeared in court charged with two counts of harassment without violence and using threatening words or behaviour.

The 68-year-old pleaded guilty to harassment and homophobic abuse, after hurling a stream of verbal abuse towards his former partner Carole Gatcliffe and her friend, including prejudicial slurs.

Jackson visited victim Mark Astley at his home in Stanley Road and, believing his ex-girlfriend was inside the property, Jackson unleashed a string of homophobic remarks.

Owen Strickland, mitigating, said: “Their relationship ended a long time ago but he had some difficulty coming to terms with the end of it.

“He has a serious heart condition and has a pacemaker fitted. He is not a well man.

“He doesn’t consider himself to be anti-gay, but accepts these remarks were said. He is very sorry and life must move on. He must forget her.”

Over a fortnight, Jackson subjected Mr Astley to a number of insults because of his sexuality, due to his friendship with his former girlfriend.

Jackson also stood outside the home of Miss Gatcliffe, who was in a relationship with the defendant for almost five years, and shouted abuse while throwing stones at her window.

He was made subject to a harassment order by police, but still continued to contact her by pushing letters through her door.

Robert Golf, chairman of the bench at North Somerset Courthouse, gave a suspended sentence to Jackson.

He said: “We find the offences so serious, especially relating to the homophobic issue, only a custodial sentence is appropriate.

“But given your age and health issues this will be suspended. This is a concession to you.”

Jackson faces a six-week prison sentence, suspended for a year, and restraining orders were put in place for the two victims.

He also faces £170 in costs and a victim surcharge of £80, which will come out of his pension.

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