A MAN who cannot leave his former partner alone has been jailed for breaking for the 12th time a court order designed to protect her.

Mark Styles, prosecuting, said that within hours of his release from jail on May 7 from a previous sentence for defying the order, John Patrick Doherty made ten phone calls to his ex-partner, some of which were silent.

At night, she heard tapping on her window and the sound of a chair moving on a patio outside her York home.

“She felt certain he was out there,” said Mr Styles at York Crown Court.

Doherty also sent text messages which the Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, regarded as “menacing.”

Arrested at a pub in York some days later, Doherty told police he thought the restraining order banning him from going to his ex-partner’s home or contacting her had expired in February.

He claimed, through his barrister Laura Addy, that his ex-partner had written to him using a false name while he was in prison and he thought she wanted to continue their relationship.

Jailing him for 15 months, the judge told Doherty: “She is frightened of you. She wants to be left alone and she is entitled to expect the courts to enforce orders of this type.

“You simply have to understand people who defy the court on a regular basis like you, have to take the consequences.”

He reminded Doherty that he personally had told him in February, when he jailed him for 12 months, that breaking the order again would be punished by another prison sentence.

Doherty, 47, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to breaching a restraining order made on September 25, 2012, and extended to be in force indefinitely on September 18, 2013.

In addition to previous breaches, he also had previous convictions for threatening and assaulting his ex-partner.

Miss Addy said Doherty had simply wanted to have a drink with his ex-partner.

Mr Styles said probation officers had informed police at 4pm on May 7 that Doherty had not attended a post-release appointment with them in Middlesbrough at 1pm and police had started looking for him.