A ‘swaggering bully’ who bombarded his former partner with threatening messages has been spared jail.

In one call to the woman made over the Christmas period in 2019, former champion weightlifter Shane Hare, 32, was said to have warned: “Wait till I see you and get my hands on you.”

And he got a friend to pass on a photograph of her new partner’s home, issuing the ultimatum that he wanted £500 or he would be ‘coming over tonight’.

A friend who overheard one conversation between Hare and his ex was told she’d ‘get it as well’.

In a victim personal statement read to Oxford Crown Court by prosecutor Daniel Kersh, Hare’s former girlfriend said: “Even his tone of voice scares me. I know what he’s capable of and this frightens me.” She had had to leave her pub job as a result of the threats and no longer felt safe in public.

Arrested on January 22, 2020, he fought with officers at Abingdon police station and was sprayed with pepper spray twice.

Sentencing him to 23 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years, Judge Maria Lamb told Hare: “It strikes me, reading these papers, that certainly the picture which you presented over Christmas 2019 going into 2020 was one of a swaggering bully with a significant record for violence.

“These were thoroughly unpleasant messages. Whatever the situation was about what may or may not have passed between you, this was behaviour which was wholly unacceptable.”

Hare, of Mereland Road, Didcot, pleaded guilty at earlier hearings to malicious communication offences and violent behaviour in a police station. He had previously been given an extended jail sentence for attacking a teenager on crutches.

Mitigating, Jonathan Coode claimed his client’s former partner had spent £3,500 of Hare’s money gambling online. He read messages allegedly sent by the woman on New Year’s Eve suggesting she still had feelings for Hare, who was an under-18 weightlifting champion.

“He is something of a blunt instrument when it comes to emotion and so on and of course, getting these crossed signals, hearing about the new boyfriends and enormous debt she’d run up he, frankly, lost his temper,” he said.

Since his arrest, he had got clean of cocaine, no longer drank alcohol and had been receiving medical help after a diagnosis of ADHD.

He was remorseful, interrupting the judge during her sentencing remarks to say: “I apologise, I do.”

Hare was in a new relationship with a woman in Swindon. He was supported in court by his mother.

Judge Lamb ordered he complete drug rehabilitation and mental health treatment programmes as part of his suspended sentence.

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