Brothers’ targeted campaign of intimidation against ex-partner

Two brothers carried out a "campaign" of intimidation and attacks against an ex-partner of one of them. Christopher Watts and Andrew Clarke rammed their victim's car in the street with their vehicles, and issued a series of threats against her. At one stage a weapon - initially thought to be a police-style extendable baton - was waved around, and was then used to strike the victim's car while making further threats.

Swansea Crown Court heard the issue between Watts and his former partner seemed to revolved around him seeing another woman behind her back, and that he then recruited his stepbrother Clarke - who was high on drink and drugs at the time - to join in the targeted attack on her. A judge told the pair their should be ashamed of what they had done, and he labelled Watts a "bully". READ MORE: Man pulls knife on McDonald's customers and staff after being refused service at drive thru

Dyfed Thomas, prosecuting, said the offending happened in March last year, and involved the two defendants and Watts' former partner. He said on the afternoon of March 28 Watts' ex was sat in her parked car on Gors Avenue in Townhill, Swansea, when she saw Watts on a motorbike. Watts then "signalled" to a number of unknown males nearby who were riding scrambler and quad bikes, and these other males used their machines to flick mud over the woman's car.

Though not the subject of any charge, the prosecutor said this incident was to be the start of a "campaign". Following the mud incident the woman texted Watts to ask him why he did what he did, and he responded by calling her back and issuing a series of threats including saying her car was "going up" and he did not care if her son was in the vehicle, and telling her he would "do" her house and car. Later that afternoon the woman was in her car on Pentregethin Road in the Ravenhill area of the city when she saw co-defendant and Watts' stepbrother Clarke approaching her in a blue Peugeot car.

The court heard that as Clarke drove by he threw a rock at his victim's car which struck and smashed a window. He then spend off. The woman pulled over to inspect the damage, and moments later Watts arrived on the scene in a car.

The prosecutor said the woman and Watts spoke briefly before, in front of the victim, Watts made a phone call to an unknown person offering them money to ram the victim's car. With that Watts got back into his car and rammed the woman's vehicle from behind with such force that her car was pushed almost a car's length down the road. The defendant then drove off.

The court heard that shortly afterwards 32-year-old Clarke briefly returned to the scene in his Peugeot, and reverse rammed the driver's door of the woman's car, pushing the vehicle sideways towards the pavement. Clarke then drove away, and the nature of his driving was said to be such that witness were unable to follow him. Read about a man who burnt girlfriend with cigarette before stamping on her face and breaking her jaw.

But that was not to be the end of the incident. Around 10 minutes later Watts came back - this time in a truck - accompanied by his new partner and her friend who were in another vehicle. The court heard the 31-year-old armed himself with "an implement of some length" - originally thought to be an extendable police-style baton - and began waving it around and banging it on the floor before hitting his victim's car while threatening to hit her over the head.

The prosecutor said the events of March 28 were "clearly a co-ordinated campaign to damage property and frighten" Watts' former partner. The court heard the blue Peugeot Clarke had been seen driving was later recovered in the Fforestfach area, and was found to be showing false plates. Officers recovered the real plates from inside the vehicle, along with Clarke's DNA.

Both men subsequently handed themselves in to police, and later gave "no comment" interviews. Officers seized the men's phones and found on Facebook messages on Clarke's phone suggesting he had dumped his original phone. In an impact statement which was read to the court the victim said she had been "shaken and disturbed" by the incidents.

She said she was receiving help from a domestic abuse support worker, and was so concerned about the defendants' actions that she wanted to move house. Christopher Dennis Watts, of Gwili Terrace, Mayhill, Swansea, had previously pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and to affray when he appeared in the dock for sentencing. He has previous convictions including for taking vehicles without consent, vehicle interference, driving while disqualified, criminal damage, and dishonesty matters.

Andrew Ross Clarke - also known as Andrew Dean Mainwaring - and also of Gwili Terrace in Mayhill, Swansea, had previously pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and criminal damage when he appeared in the dock alongside his stepbrother. He has previous convictions including for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, aggravated vehicle taking, drink-driving, criminal damage, Jon Tarrant for Watts said in the defendant's own words used to the author of the pre-sentence report, he needed to grow up.

He said while his client, who works as a car mechanic, had been a persistent offender between 2008 and 2016 but his criminality had "waned" in recent times which perhaps indicated "a degree of maturity" - however with the offending against his ex he had "reverted to type and his immature and impetuous traits had reignited". Dan Griffiths, for Clarke, said the defendant had acted out of a "bizarre sense of loyalty" to his stepbrother, and realised that whatever disagreement Watts was having with his ex-partner he should not have got involved. He said by the defendant's own admission he has a "short fuse", and at the time of the offending was going through a chaotic period in his life and was under the influence of substances.

The advocate said Clarke was now in a relationship with an older woman who was a "calming influence" on him, and he said a period of abstinence had allowed his client to focus on the positive things in his life including looking after the horses which his father bred on a farm on Gower, something he was "very passionate" about. Recorder Benjamin Blakemore told the men they should be ashamed of their behaviour and what they had put their victim through. He said it seemed from a probation report that the issues between Watts and his partner which led to the offending were to do with him seeing another woman behind his partner's back and, for whatever reason, he had been in "somewhat of a rage" on the day in question.

He said Watts had "orchestrated" the offending with the intention of causing his victim fear, and had involved Clarke in the criminality. He described Watts as a "bully" and said while he had obviously thought he was being clever in switching phones before handing himself in, he really wasn't. The recorder said the offending clearly crossed the custody threshold, and the main question for him was whether the sentences had to be served immediately or could be suspended.

He said for both defendants he had just been persuaded by everything he had read and heard about them that there were realistic prospects of rehabilitation, and so the sentences should be suspended. With 20 per cent discounts for his guilty pleas Watts was sentenced to 15 months in prison suspended for 18 months, was ordered to complete a rehabilitation course and do 180 hours of unpaid work, and must abide by a nightly curfew for the next two months. With a With 20 per cent discounts for his guilty pleas Clarke was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for 18 months, was ordered to complete a rehabilitation course and do 150 hours of unpaid work, and must abide by a nightly curfew for the next two months.

Both men must also pay GBP920 each towards prosecution costs.

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