Leeds & West Yorkshire

Heathcliff actor James Howson's sentencing adjourned

James Howson
Image caption James Howson failed to attend court for sentencing in February and March

The sentencing of an actor who racially abused his ex-girlfriend has been adjourned for a third time as he undergoes psychiatric treatment.

James Howson, 24, of Haslewood Close, Leeds, admitted racially aggravated harassment and was due to be sentenced at Leeds Magistrates' Court.

He was due to be sentenced in February, but the case was adjourned after he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Howson starred as Heathcliff in a film adaptation of Wuthering Heights.

He won the role after he attended auditions advertised on a job centre wall and is thought to be the first black actor to ever play Emily Bronte's Heathcliff on screen. The film was released last year.

Howson, who was sectioned on 19 April for a period of up to six months, is being treated at a specialist unit in Leeds.

'Not well'

His lawyer Anthony Sugare told the court that he was being assessed and treated for a "psychotic disorder".

Mr Sugare said: "The reality is that the defendant is not well enough to attend court today.

"He is under medication for a psychotic disorder."

Howson was discharged from a hospital in Newcastle last month but failed to attend court when he was due to be sentenced.

The court heard in February that Howson shouted racist abuse and threats at his former girlfriend after their three-year relationship ended.

The case has been adjourned to 28 May.

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