Ex-nurse on suspended sentence walks free from court after sending abusive messages to former partner

Burnley Crown Court.
Burnley Crown Court.

An ex-nurse who sent his former partner angry and abusive messages while subject to a suspended jail term has walked free from court.

Convicted fraudster Ian McPhee (53) was banned from contacting the victim Caroline Brownsett after she took out a non-molestation order to stop him annoying her. But, he left the mother-of-four voice mails containing “blatant lies” such as claiming she had been a drunk and had not really contributed to the relationship at all, Burnley Crown Court heard.

The hearing was told McPhee, a former Colne nursing home employee, also sent 26 WhatsApp messages to her friend, wanting her to contact the victim. His behaviour had left Ms Brownsett “very upset and stressed out.”

McPhee had been given 36 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, with 100 hours unpaid work at Leeds Crown Court in 2014, after he admitted fraud.

McPhee had been working as a mental health nurse for a healthcare recruitment firm in the city when he carried out a scam to the tune of more than £7,000 with false claims about hours worked.

At that hearing, the court was told McPhee claimed to be in desperate need of money for his family when he committed the offence. The sentencing judge heard McPhee was on benefits and had problems with alcohol.

In the latest case, the defendant, of Victoria Road, Earby, admitted two counts of failing to comply with the non-molestation order, in breach of the suspended term and had been committed for sentence by magistrates. He received a 12 month conditional discharge.

David Clarke (prosecuting) said Ms Brownsett and the defendant had an 11-year relationship, but it deteriorated after an alleged incident.

He then repeatedly contacted her and caused such aggravation she instructed solicitors to apply for a non-molestation order. Under the order, he was not allowed to contact or communicate with his ex-partner or get others to do it.

McPhee then sent a series of communications, at first directly to her and then indirectly.

Mr Clarke said Ms Brownsett contacted the police after she received a “drunken, slurred” voice mail lasting a minute-and-a-half. He continued: “She recognised immediately it was the defendant. He accepted he had had six or seven pints in a pub in Burnley, but maintained he had gone to bed at 11-30pm and the call could not have come from him.”

The prosecutor said McPhee pleaded not guilty to that offence, but changed his plea to guilty on the day of trial, after a voice recognition expert was involved in the case.