Fareham man jailed for bombarding teenager with messages saying he would rape and kill her family and burn their house down

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A young man suffering a ‘social phobia’ bombarded a teenage girl he met online with violent messages threatening to kill and rape her family.

Connor Gardener, 22, never met the 18-year-old in person, having started talking to her on Facebook.

Connor Gardener was jailed at Portsmouth Crown Court for 16 months

Connor Gardener was jailed at Portsmouth Crown Court for 16 months

But Portsmouth Crown Court heard when she stopped talking to Gardener, of Geoffrey Crescent, Fareham, he threatened to burn down her home, kidnap and rape her younger sister and rape her mother.

Prosecutor Simon Foster told the court how Gardener used 12 mobile phones to send repeated messages across two incidents.

On one day Gardener was spotted near her home on CCTV and was arrested by police. He had earlier been warned not to contact the teenager.

Jailing him for 16 months, judge David Melville QC said: ‘In May of this year there were two serious matters, which bring you here, and you know what the text messages you wrote were.

‘But anybody who has not read them needs to know that they’re shocking reading, and I don’t know if members of your family or the public have got hold of them but they’re unbelievable - there are 16 pages.

‘You’re asked to leave her alone - you persist (saying): “I will be at your house in half an hour where I’ll burn the door down... your mum is going to die tonight”.

‘She begs you to go away, you say no, (adding): “I’ll be there in five minutes - someone dies”. “I’d rather you killed me,” she wrote, “than you hurt my family”.’

Gardener then added: ‘I’m in your road, your mother has 20 minutes left I’m going to burn your house down and kill everybody.’

Gardener threatened to kidnap and rape the girl’s younger sister and mother in a series of threats, the court heard.

The judge added: ‘These are essentially quite inexplicable by any medical condition I’ve read by (a psychiatrist), it simply doesn’t link.’

Gardener admitted two charges of harassment causing fear of violence.

Judge Melville said: ‘It is impossible to evaluate how anybody can write like this.’

Daniel Reilly, mitigating, said Gardener suffered from social phobia, anxiety and depression, although he had only recently agreed to start taking medication.

Teachers had called him ‘a pleasure to teach’, the court heard, before he started to become reclusive and became isolated.

The judge imposed a restraining order banning Gardener from contacting the victim.