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Prisoner threatened to put £20,000 bounty on ex-partner's head
8:50am Friday 20th September 2013 in News
A PRISONER got hold of a mobile phone while while behind bars, called his ex-partner and threatened to put a £20,000 bounty on her head unless she took their daughter to see him, a court has heard.
Craig Thomas, aged 28, was an inmate at HMP Hewell in Tardebigge on July 5 last year when he borrowed the phone, which had been smuggled into the institution by someone else.
Prosecutor Tariq Shakoor told Worcester Crown Court that Thomas' ex, 21-year-old Stacey Ellis, had refused to allow their two-year-old child to visit him while he was behind bars, which had angered him.
"At around 6.50pm, he called her on her mobile number and challenged her," he said.
"He accepts that he said to her something along the lines of 'carry on you little rat, watch what happens. If she doesn't come to see me in the next week I'll put £20,000 on your head'."
In another phone call that night, he threatened to put £10,000 on both her and her brother, and said he would get his friends to follow her.
A further 17 phone calls followed, along with a series of text messages pleading with her to allow their daughter to visit.
"Miss Ellis describes feeling scared, as she didn't know what the defendant might do through other people," Mr Shakoor added.
Thomas, of Orpwood Road, Birmingham, had previously pleaded guilty to making a malicious communication and to using a mobile phone while in prison.
He had been in the middle of a 21-month prison sentence for producing cannabis when he made the call, the court heard, and has a number of previous convictions for assault, criminal damage, and affray.
David Bratt, defending, said Thomas and Miss Ellis were now on amicable terms and shared custody of their daughter.
He called Thomas a devoted father who had only acted out of frustration at not being able to see his daughter.
Judge Robert Juckes QC said he took into account Thomas' full-time job, and handed him a four-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.
He will also be subject to a strict curfew for four months, and must carry out 100 hours of community service.
He was ordered to pay £400 compensation.
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