Man who sent 370 messages to ex banned from entering Essex

Ipswich Crown Court Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Mark Long appeared at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday, February 15. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

An Essex man who stalked his former partner by bombarding her with hundreds of text messages, emails and telephone calls has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Mark Long’s relationship with the pregnant woman ended in April 2020 during lockdown and during the next month he sent her 200 text messages and 170 emails and left voicemails after his calls went unanswered, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Daniel Setter, prosecuting, said that in the messages he told the woman she was “going to get what’s coming to her” and that he “had the knives ready”.

He also told his former partner that “her day had come and justice would prevail.”

Long also said he hoped she became suicidal and threatened to damage the house they had shared, said Mr Setter.

Long, who had lived with the woman in Earls Colne, also revealed intimate details about her on the Twitch live-streaming service.

Long, 49, of no fixed address admitted stalking his former partner causing her serious alarm or distress between April 28 and June 1 2020.

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Sentencing him to a 20-month prison sentence suspended for two years, Judge Emma Peters described what he did as “cruel” and said that some of the threats he made to her were “frightening and chilling”.

“Women are entitled to respect when you break up with them and she didn’t deserve to be treated in this way,” said the judge.

In addition to the suspended prison sentence Long was ordered to take part in a Building Better Relationships programme and to do 180 hours unpaid work.

He was also given a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 30 days and a prohibited activity requirement that banned him from entering Essex for 12 months.

Judge Peters warned Long that if he reoffended in the next two years it would almost inevitably result in him going to prison.

She also banned him from contacting his former partner for five years or referring to her on social media.

She told Long that she hoped the conditions of the suspended sentence order would  support him to be “the man he’d been for most of his life”  before he committed the offences before the court.

Donal Lawlor for Long said his client had previously undiagnosed mental health issues which were now being addressed and he was receiving assistance with housing and  support for emotional issues from a charity.