Man who spat at girlfriend jailed

Kidderminster Shuttle: Man who spat at girlfriend jailed Man who spat at girlfriend jailed

A KIDDERMINSTER man who ill-treated his girlfriend was given credit by a judge at Worcester Crown Court after he was told she still wanted to continue their relationship.

Rebecca Yapp was in the public gallery when 30-year-old Matthew Lavelle appeared for sentence for putting her in fear of violence by harassment.

Lavelle, of Dunlin Drive, Spennells, who also admitted breach of a criminal anti-social behaviour order, was jailed for 12 months.

His barrister, Peter Fortune, said Miss Yapp had visited Lavelle in prison when he was on remand and did not want a restraining order made by the court to prevent them meeting.

Prosecutor Graham Russell said Miss Yapp was at a Stourport fairground with her children in August last year when Lavelle turned up, annoyed because she had not answered his telephone calls. In an argument, he spat into her face in front of the children.

He later telephoned to apologise and stayed the night at her flat. She slept on the sofa and in the morning he became angry and slapped her, breaking a broom handle in half. She went home to her parents.

Feeling sorry for his mental condition, she returned to the flat. But his attitude changed as the evening wore on and he threatened to scar her face for life. She went to work as a barmaid at a Stourport golf club but he followed her. He picked up a knife from the kitchen and threatened to kill her parents.

The court was told that Lavelle was later given a community order for battery and possession of a bladed article.

Mr Fortune conceded that Lavelle had a chequered criminal career which began at the age of 14. He had been rootless but had been supported by the relationship with Miss Yapp in recent years. She had encouraged him to take his medication and he had shown genuine remorse for the way he had treated her.

Judge Michael Cullum said he was impressed that Miss Yapp did not want Lavelle to be punished so he would not make a restraining order. But he had behaved in an anti-social way by spitting at her and slapping her.

The judge revoked the community order and acknowledged that Lavelle had spent time in prison and on curfew. The total sentence for all his offences was 12 months.

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