Chester woman's online dating terror


Natalie Barnett

A JEALOUS man threatened to “pay back” his internet lover after subjecting her to a terrifying text message hate campaign when their relationship broke down, a court heard.

Scorned Dennis Appleton vowed revenge on former lover Sarah Hughes, from Chester, telling her: “I cannot let you get away with this you ****, you have made a fool out of me and I will pay you back big time. I need pay back”.

Appleton, 43, sent the threatening text messages between September 13-15 just days after the couple made the joint decision to split up. The couple were together for just a few weeks after striking up a relationship via an internet site on August, magistrates in Chester heard.

Sarah Gray, prosecuting described how, prior to the relationship breakdown, the couple had argued after meeting face to face for the first time during a night out in Chester.

“During the evening Ms Hughes saw an old male friend and the defendant became jealous of her behaviour towards the male friend and they argued.

On September 13 Ms Hughes ended the relationship with the defendant. However, Ms Hughes then received a number of unpleasant threatening text messages . Ms Hughes describes being terrified and called police.

Appleton, a machine driver, of Bowland Avenue, St Helens, Merseyside, admitted he became angry after he claimed to have seen naked pictures of his Ms Hughes on the same internet site where the pair had met.

He fully admitted sending the text messages telling police he had been jealous, and had been drinking. He was remorseful for his actions, but said he had no intention of carrying out his threat, but wanted to worry and upset Ms Hughes.

Choosing to represent himself, Appleton told the court: “I was heartbroken, I lost control. When we were together she told me how much she loved me.”

Magistrates sentenced Appleton to an 18 month community order, with supervision, and issued him with a restraining order preventing him from contacting Ms Hughes.

He was also ordered to carry out 50 hours of unpaid work, to complete a Community Domestic Violence Programme (CPD), and was told to pay £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

See full story in the Chester Leader

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