A former member of the armed forces who served in Afghanistan whose ex-partner was his informal “counsellor” for dealing with PTSD type symptoms, has been sentenced for breaching Restraining Orders.
Luke William Wise (26), from the Kilraughts Road area of Ballymoney, was, his defence barrister said, “significantly affected” by his service and although not officially diagnosed was probably showing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The defendant was previously given a suspended jail term for harassing his ex and he was at Coleraine Magistrates Court this week for sentencing after admitting new offences of breaching a Restraining Order including on New Year’s Day this year.
A prosecutor said that despite the Restraining Order the defendant continued to contact his ex-partner with messages and videos on WhatsApp.
Wise’s defence lawyer said that after his army experiences the former partner had been the defendant’s informal “counsellor”.
The court heard the defendant now owns a construction business employing seventeen people but, the barrister added: “He has struggled to come to terms with life after he was discharged from the army”.
The lawyer said Wise maintains a very good relationship with members of his ex-partner’s family but he accepts the relationship with his ex is over and that he has to “move on”.
At court last December, it was heard Wise booked holidays and sent several gifts in a failed bid to rekindle the relationship with the former partner.
A prosecutor told the December Coleraine Magistrates Court hearing a three year relationship ended previously and although his former partner made it clear it was over, Wise texted her and sent her several gifts.
He booked holidays and visited her address and sent her several letters and cards as well as threatening to harm himself.
A defence barrister told that court that when the relationship broke down his client acted in ways he normally wouldn’t have.
District Judge Liam McNally told the December court it was “a bad case of harassment” and handed down a four months jail term, suspended for two years.
The defendant was also given a two year Restraining Order, the breach of which was the subject of the latest court proceedings.
At court this week, District Judge Peter King noted the defendant’s army discharge came via the Military Corrective Training Centre in Colchester.
He said he would not activate the suspended prison term, saying the defendant “clearly” needed help and he hoped he could get that whilst on Probation for a year.
Wise also has to do 75 hours of unpaid work.
The judge told him: “You really need to get the message that this relationship is over. Failure to get the message will result in prison”.