England

Basingstoke man sentenced after harassing teenager

A 50-year-old man who harassed a teenage girl by bombarding her with hundreds of text messages has been given a 22 week suspended jail term.

Dennis Patton of Basingstoke, started contacting the 14-year-old via Facebook last September, police said.

Patton, of Wentworth Crescent, Beggarwood, threatened to visit the girl's Reading home, speak to her family and discuss sexual issues.

Thames Valley Police said the victim felt "very vulnerable and distressed".

The force said he knew "exactly the feelings" Patton would engender in his victim, having produced a short film about bullying in 2012.

The defendant was found guilty of harassment at Reading Magistrates' Court, where he was convicted of two counts of the same offence at a hearing on 20 May.

'Used social media'

When the victim blocked Patton on Facebook, he went on to send anonymous abusive messages to her via text messages, the court heard.

He also sent abusive messages for three months to both the victim and her mother, who forwarded them to police, the force confirmed.

"The irony of this is that Patton knew exactly the feelings he would engender in the victim, as three years ago he wrote and produced a short film about the impact of bullying on young teenagers which was called Teenage Kicks and was featured in the local media," PC Kris Couzens said.

"This was a consistent and sustained harassment of a young victim and her family via social media and mobile phone communication, which has obviously left the victim feeling very vulnerable and distressed."

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