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Former policeman is sentenced

PUBLISHED: 09:36 13 August 2008 | UPDATED: 11:34 03 July 2010

A former police sergeant who attacked his “terrified” ex-girlfriend and bombarded her with a torrent of abusive text messages was given a suspended prison sentence on Monday .

A former police sergeant who attacked his “terrified” ex-girlfriend and bombarded her with a torrent of abusive text messages was given a suspended prison sentence on Monday .

Mark Murphy, who has since resigned from the force, threatened to slit his victim's throat and grappled with her at her home in Downham Market.

Norwich Crown Court heard the 39-year-old's former girlfriend, also a serving officer, had been sent a series of abusive text messages in February, after she decided to end their relationship.

Prosecutor Guy Ayers said: “The texts were related to him watching her, that he was going to come round and slit her throat and it would only take him a minute to get there.”

The court heard the four weeks of harassment culminated on March 1, when Murphy turned up at the woman's home.

“There was a grappling between them. He smelled very strongly of intoxicating liquor and put his face right up to hers,” said Mr Ayers.

“He was very hostile and she was terrified. She went to hide in a bushy area nearby. Police found her in a terrified state. She was panic- striken.”

Murphy, now of Granary Close, Lingwood, had previously admitted harassment, common assault and illegally possessing bullets.

Michael Clare, mitigating, said the bullets had been placed in Murphy's house without his knowledge during the divvying up of belongings between himself and his ex-wife. The corresponding weapon had previously been destroyed and did not relate to the harassment charge.

He agreed his client had been “thoroughly unpleasant” to his victim at a time when he was drinking more and his anti-depressant dosage had been doubled.

“He has since resigned as a police officer - something that has caused him a great deal of anguish,” he added.

“He served proudly for more than 20 years and received eight commendations and a bravery award… his life is in ruins.”

Sentencing him to three months' imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, Judge Philip Curl said: “Your fall from grace has been dramatic. You have brought shame on yourself, your family and Norfolk Constabulary.

“That in itself must be some sort of punishment.”

Murphy was also ordered to do 200 hours' unpaid work and was given a 12-month conditional discharge for possession of the bullets.

He was ordered not to contact his victim for four years and must pay costs of £1,100.

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