Dursley gym and cafe owner found guilty of harassment

5:07am Thursday 26th June 2014

A DURSLEY businessman says he will fight to clear his name after he was given a suspended jail sentence and an electronic tag curfew for harassing his ex-girlfriend who he met at the gym he owns.

Carlyle Ward, 67, was sentenced at Newport Magistrates' Court on June 18 after being found guilty of conduct amounting to harassment of Jill Furber in Shirenewton, near Chepstow, and other places between September 1 and October 3 last year.

The court said the former Rednock School PE teacher from Parsonage Street had persistently contacted her and sent her unwanted correspondence and made unannounced and unwelcome visits to her house and in various public spaces.

Despite the owner of the Courtyard Cafe and Courtyard Health and Fitness pleaded not guilty, he was given a 20-week jail term, suspended for 15 months.

Ward, who has lived in the town for 40 years and employs 12 people, has also been given an electronic tag curfew for 13 weeks, meaning he will have to be at his home from 9pm to 6am every day until September 17.

He has also had a restraining order slapped on him which forbids him from contacting Ms Furber for five years and ordered to pay £3,000 in compensation, an £80 victim surcharge and £750 in court costs.

The courts said the strong sentence derived from the nature and seriousness of the crimes as well as his persistent harassment, even after being warned by police about his offending.

Speaking to the Gazette, Ward said he was told by his solicitor he was unable legally to talk about the verdict or about the person who levelled the accusations at him.

“While I appreciate I have to accept what has happened at this moment in time, I am not going to let it affect the way I live, what I do and what I believe in,” he said.

“I also intend to gather as much information and legal advice as the system will allow me to set about clearing my name and protect my reputation.

“In the meantime I will continue to make a positive contribution to the community I have lived in for 40 years and do my utmost to promote and grow my business in the best interests of my customers and staff.

“I have never ran away or hidden from anything in my life and I know intention of doing that now.”

The pair were involved in an increasingly troubled relationship over a period of four to five years when Ms Furber was going through a divorce.

The 51-year-old single mother formerly from Standish moved in with Ward in Dursley before moving to Chepstow after the relationship broke down.

She told the Gazette she was in the witness box for five and half hours giving testimony and said the sentence was “justly deserved” as the period has had a lasting effect.

“It has been very tough on my family and my son, we are nervous to be on our own,” she said.

“It has been a journey to hell and back for me. It took a lot of courage and resilience to take it to court but it was necessary. I think Mr ward has to learn he can’t behave the way he does.

“It was a serious sentence but they believed it to be just and right."

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