Domestic offender harassed ex in Falkirk’s Howgate Centre

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A dad breached his non-harassment order and showed up at his former partner’s work in an effort to see his children at Christmas.

When Brian Gentle (38) entered Falkirk’s Howgate Shopping Centre and started standing outside the woman’s workplace staring at her he was breaking the law. He then started talking to her and the centre’s security guard got involved before police were contacted.

Appearing at Falkirk Sheriff Court last Thursday, Gentle, 39 Firs Street, Falkirk, had pled guilty to breaching his non-harassment order on December 23 last year.

Ann Orr, procurator fiscal depute, said: “She was in the store when she saw the accused standing outside the shop staring at her. She spoke to her colleague about it and estimated he had been there for at least 10 minutes before he left.”

When she left the shop for her lunch break Gentle showed up and began talking to her.

“He spoke to her about wanting to see the children,” said the procurator fiscal depute. “She told him he would have to go through a solicitor. He attempted to speak to her but she did not respond.

“A security guard had been made aware the accused was there. CCTV was reviewed and the accused was arrested. He said they had split up two years before and he had seen his kids a handful of times.”

Defence solicitor Murray Aitken said: “He accepts he shouldn’t have any contact with her and there was an order in place. The time of the year is relevant as he was simply trying to mak arrangements to see the children for Christmas.

“He had been going through the proper channels and steps are now being put in place to formalise the arrangements.”

A non-harassment order is granted by the Sheriff Court to protect people from any behaviour by another person that causes them harassment. This could be verbal abuse, persistent communication with them, or attending at their property.

Sheriff John Mundy said: “You’re on a sticky wicket – this was completely the wrong way to go about seeing your children.”

He deferred sentence on Gentle for until March 31 for him to be of good behaviour to comply with the Caledonian domestic abuse programme.

“And not just going through the motions,” added Sheriff Mundy.