A SCOT who has breached a restraining order taken out by his former wife 17 times during a sustained campaign of harassment was jailed yesterday for two years.
Stuart Innes, 47, was told by a judge at Gloucester Crown Court that he was “the author of his own misfortune” by failing to accept that his marriage was over and insisting that he was owed money for his share of the couple’s business.
Innes, who represented himself, pleaded guilty to three breaches of a restraining order that prevents him contacting his ex-wife, Rachel, or her solicitor.
He argued that his former wife made him sign away his share of their care home business and £700,000 family home on the promise that if he did then they might reconcile in the future.
Prosecutor Lisa Hennessy said: “He is no stranger to this court. He has breached the same restraining order 17 times. The longest sentence he has so far served is 18 months.”
That sentence was imposed in 2011 after Innes doused himself in petrol in his flat in Cheltenham and threatened to set himself alight.
Mrs Hennessy said: “All of this has come about because of the break-up of his marriage six years ago. The marriage lasted 17 years so there has been a breach for every one of those years.”
The judge, Recorder Michael de Navarro QC, said: “There are three problems. One, his failure to recognise that the marriage is over; two, his feeling that he has been done down financially; and three, the issue of access to his children.
“Frankly, the longer he goes on failing to recognise the first and failing to resolve the second by sensible means, the more difficulty there is going to be in resolving the third. He is the author of his own misfortune.”
Mrs Hennessy said the current restraining order against Innes was made in November 2009.
“In the three years following that, the order was breached so many times that he has spent most of his time in custody one way or another,” she said.
The latest breaches related to him sending letters to his ex-wife’s solicitors asking questions which only she could answer, said Mrs Hennessy.
Innes had also put personal information about his ex-wife on his Facebook page, again a breach of the order, she said.
When Innes was arrested on 5 January, he said he was simply trying to get answers from his wife to three questions, she said.
The judge said he wondered whether Innes might benefit from counselling rather than yet more imprisonment.
But probation officer Sian Worrall told the court: “He is completely entrenched in this and I don’t believe personally, having witnessed him on previous occasions, that any intervention will make any difference.”
Innes told the court: “I hurt her and she divorced me. She said I had to prove how much I loved her by signing over everything to her and then maybe one day she would have me back. I thought it was a lot to ask because she was moving in with another man and I did it against legal advice in the hope that we could get together again one day.
“I am not an obsessive ex-husband – I am someone who has been manipulated out of everything I had ever worked for.”
He begged the judge not to jail him again and said that if he was free he would return to his native Aberdeen, where he has friends and family, and the opportunity of work.
Jailing Innes, the Recorder said: “This is a very sad case. You are obviously intelligent and highly articulate.” If what you say is right you have been very badly treated by your former wife. I don’t know whether that is true or not.”