28th September 2016
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Jail for man who ‘terrorised’ his ex-wife

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A man who continually “terrorised” his ex-wife with a barrage of phone calls and unwanted visits has been handed a two year prison sentence.

Ricardo Kortram, 50, of Lerwick, was ordered to abide by a non-harassment order after he left the woman feeling “undermined” and “frightened” in what was described as the worst case of its kind to be heard in the isles.

He was told not to return to the isles by Sheriff Philip Mann when he appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

His only pathway back to Shetland is if he seeks contact with his son – but even that must be pre-arranged.

Kortram admitted engaging in a course of conduct which caused his estranged spouse fear and alarm by repeatedly phoning her and going to her place of work, while on bail.

That offence took place between 30th November and 1st December.

But Kortram also admitted a similar offence between 30th April and 24th August.

He phoned her numerous times at her home and work, shouted at her and was verbally abusive.

Kortram also visited her work and the address of one of her relatives in a bid to locate her.

Other calls and texts were made on 18th and 19th April from an address in Hamnavoe, when Kortram threatened to kill himself if she did not reconcile with him, and threatened to kill her.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said the number of nuisance calls made by Kortram ran into the hundreds. He said the case was the worst of its kind that he had seen.

“I’ve no doubt this would be the worst case this court has dealt with. There are very few cases of such seriousness in the courts.”

Kortram, he said, had defied court orders. The woman had been “terrorised” by Kortram and “lives in fear of him”.

“The worrying component of his behaviour is the persistence with which he’s continued to harass this woman.”

The fiscal added Kortram failed to recognise “the dynamics” of his offending and why parliament felt it necessary to legislate. He said there was a psychological element to the offence which left the victim in continued fear.

He moved for the court to impose a non-harassment order, calling on Kortram to only return to Shetland to for pre-arranged meetings with his son.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said Kortram had been in custody since 2nd December. He added that, since 30th April, Kortram had been at liberty for only four days.

Kortram had found that “extremely frustrating” because he had not been able to move forward. He added Kortram had, through no fault of his own, been unable to secure legal representation to deal with civil matters regarding separation from the woman and access to his son.

The court heard that Kortram had applied himself while on remand, even to the extent of helping others. Mr Allan went as far as to say he would be “missed” by prison guards if he was allowed his liberty. But he said that, at some point, Kortram would have to be allowed into the community.

“It can not be any clearer to Mr Kortram that he can not, in any way, contact his former partner,” Mr Allan said.

He feared that any order for Kortram not to enter the isles could prejudge legal negotiations over access and contact which could result from any civil action.

However, Mr MacKenzie argued Kortram could come back to court to have the order varied.

Sheriff Mann said he was unsure whether Kortram would ever fully understand the consequences of his actions.

“I don’t know how the message will ever get across to you. I suspect the message may never get across to you. But the thing I can do is impose a sentence that will give your estranged partner at least some relief, and at least some period of freedom from this type of harassment.”

He sentenced him to two years backdated to when he was remanded. Four months of the sentence was attributed to the bail aggravation.