Former army man harassed ex-partner

A SCARBOROUGH man who was thrown out of the army after two tours of Iraq has pleaded guilty to harassment.

Kevin McGarva, 26, of Queens Terrace, sent two text messages and made a phone call to his ex-partner, causing the woman harassment, alarm and distress, Scarborough Magistrates’ Court heard.

McGarva, who had been dishonourably discharged from the army in January after he was convicted of racially aggravated assault, committed the harassment offence on July 17.

Steve Ovenden, prosecuting, said: “He had been in a relationship with this woman for about two years when he was in the army.

“They set up home in Darlington and Catterick but the relationship broke down.”

The first text message, sent at just after 8pm, read: “I will be down at your dad’s shortly with coppers”, while in the later message, McGarva wrote: “I’m off to smash your dad’s house up”.

In a telephone call to his victim, McGarva then spoke of “dying tonight” and said he couldn’t decide whether to stab or hang himself.

In a statement, the victim said: “He knows I am scared of him,” and expressed concern that McGarva would hurt her father.

“The defendant knows that the victim and her father are very close,” Mr Ovenden added.

Nick Tubbs, mitigating, said that after his client was dishonourably discharged from the army, where he worked in catering, he had struggled to readjust to civilian life.

“His life has spiralled downwards fairly rapidly,” he said. “He has three key issues - drink, anger management and relationships.

“It is quite clear that the breakdown of this relationship preyed on his mind, which caused him to behave irrationally. He looks back with enormous regret.”

Mr Tubbs then pleaded with magistrates not to send his client into custody.

“He would probably cope in prison,” Mr Tubbs said. “But I hope you will be persuaded to make a community order for the benefit of all.

“He wants to work with the authorities to sort himself out.”

McGarva, who owed £1,500 to the court, was handed a two-year community order with the conditions that he completes an integrated domestic abuse program and undergoes supervision.

A restraining order, which will last for three years, was also imposed.