Sending a birthday card to his little daughter could have landed a 25-year-old Chesterfield man in prison, a court heard.
For it constituted a criminal offence by breaking the terms of a restraining order, banning him from making any contact with the girl’s mother, his former partner, except through solicitors.
Nottingham Magistrates’ Court heard that William Brewer, of Chapel Street, Brimington, arranged for the card to be delivered to the home of Tessa Hipkiss on Friday, November 6, last year.
They had been together for more than four years and lived at her address in Carlton, Nottingham, before he was convicted of assaulting her in November 2014 and had a three-year restraining order imposed on him.
Brewer followed up the card with text messages, asking his former girlfriend if she had received it, wondering how his daughter was and later wishing them a happy new year.
In court, he pleaded guilty to breaching the order by sending the card and the texts, contrary to the Protection from Harassment Act.
His solicitor, Tim Holder, mitigating, said Brewer had been “highly troubled” by the case and the possibility of being sent to prison.
“Only one of the text messages was a little bit disparaging,” said Mr Holder. “He has significant learning difficulties and mental health issues, with self-harm and suicidal tendencies. He also suffers from ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
“He shows an extreme amount of immaturity, and has poor emotional management and conflict resolution.
“When he split up with Miss Hipkiss, who is a lot older than him, he was homeless and spent his time on the streets and in soup kitchens.
“But he is now living at the Brockhill Court hostel, has reduced his drinking and is not on any non-prescription drugs.
“If he was sent to custody, he would become homeless again and would become more bitter and twisted.
“He accepts that this is his last chance, and the last time the hand of friendship will be available to him.”
After reading a report by the probation service, Deputy District Judge Nala Lawrence sentenced Brewer to a community order of 12 months and told him to pay court costs of £85, plus a victim surcharge of £60.