Burnley thief locked up after FaceBook campaign against victim

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A JEALOUS man who stole from his partner and then mounted an abusive Facebook campaign to try and get her to drop charges, has been locked up.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Michael Baker, who claimed the messages had not been from him, had approached victim Laura Abbott, and stole her bag. He had attacked her outside a police station two months before.

Baker (29) whose behaviour was slammed as manipulative and controlling by a judge, was sent to prison for a total of 20 months.

Judge Graham Knowles, QC, had revoked a community order imposed by magistrates after the defendant had pleaded guilty to battery, and had resentenced.

Baker, of Colne Road, Burnley, had admitted theft, which he had committed while on bail, and attempting to pervert the course of justice. He was was also made subject to a restraining order, banning him from contacting Miss Abbott.

A trial date was set for last October and the defendant was in regular contact with the victim on Facebook. Some messages were warm while others were offensive and abusive and aimed at trying to get the victim to drop the case.

In January, Baker had admitted battery and had been given a 12 month supervision order by the lower court.

Adam Watkins (defending) said he and Miss Abbott had had an 18 month relationship. She had blocked him on Facebook and he then noticed he had been unblocked and thought it was she who had done it.

Mr Watkins said at the time the defendant had been drinking to excess, but had now changed his lifestyle.

Sentencing, the judge said: “You play for high stakes when attempting to pervert the course of justice. If you win you walk away from it all, but if you lose a deterrent sentence follows.”