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Community service for Armagh man who sent unsolicited flowers, letters and marriage proposals

He stated that it was not his intention to pester or intimidate the injured party but to 'profess his love' and ask her to marry him

Armagh Courthouse

An Armagh man who sent unsolicited flowers, letters and wedding proposals to a woman in breach of a non-molestation order has been sentenced to community service and probation.

This comes after the 54-year-old previously claimed he was not mentally or physically fit enough to engage with the community service element of a combination order.

John Murray, of Victoria Park, appeared for sentencing on seven counts of breaching a non-molestation order and harassment at the city’s Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry, on Tuesday via videolink from his solicitor’s office.

At a previous court hearing, prosecution outlined that the injured party reported to police that, between December 5 and December 22, she had received numerous letters and flowers from the defendant.

In these letters, Murray wrote that he loved the injured party and asked for her to marry him.

She stated that the defendant had also sent her a friend request on Facebook and messaged her through this service.

The unwanted flowers and letters were sent on a total of six occasions between the relevant dates.

Murray was subsequently arrested for breaching a non-molestation order and during interview at Lurgan Custody Suite he admitted sending the flowers and letters.

He stated that it was not his intention to pester or intimidate the injured party but to “profess his love” and ask her to marry him.

In January police received a report of a further breach of the non-molestation order in relation to the same injured party.

She stated that on January 11, Murray had sent her unsolicited messages via text, Whatsapp and the dating app Badoo.

The injured party said these messages had left her feeling pestered and harassed.

Murray was arrested and, during interview, he said that he could not remember sending the messages but accepted the evidence was there.

Speaking on that occasion via videolink, Murray stated he did not feel physically or mentally fit to engage with community service.

The defendant outlined that he had a “knee replacement”, was waiting on an MRI scan on his other knee and had a “breakdown” in December.

He commented: “I have enough on my plate.”

The case had been adjourned for “additional material” to be produced showing that a combination order was not appropriate.

However, on Tuesday defence barrister Kevin O’Hare confirmed that the defendant did now consent to such an order being made.

Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer sentence Murray to an enhanced combination order consisting of 100 hours community service and 12 months probation.

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