A MAN who embarked on a "concerted campaign to bombard" his wife with text messages of a "truly vile nature" after they separated has been placed on a community payback order and told to take part in a domestic violence programme.
Lindsay Sangster, of Cunningsburgh, previously admitted repeatedly sending abusive, grossly offensive and menacing text messages at an address in Toft and at the Moorfield Hotel in Brae between 10 April 2016 and 17 May this year.
The 51 year old also pleaded guilty to repeatedly telephoning her at her place of employment, behaving aggressively towards her and making threats of violence against others.
At Lerwick Sheriff Court on Tuesday, Sheriff Philip Mann said there was no doubt that Sangster had caused the woman "significant distress", warning him that he "simply can't act like that".
But he said he could only send him to prison if it was the only appropriate sentence and he felt it just "stopped short" of that.
Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie previously told the court that the couple had separated but were still living together.
He said Sangster sent her "hundreds of messages" that included calling her a "prostitute" and a threat to urinate in her bed.
Mackenzie said there were messages worse in nature that were "quite frankly disgusting".
At the court on Tuesday, defence agent Tommy Allan said frustration boiled up in Sangster after the couple split, while there was "friction" in the household too.
Despite his client's behaviour, the solicitor said "bizarrely he just wanted his wife to change her mind about him" and that "any attention was better than no attention" for Sangster at the time.
Sangster now regrets the way he acted, Allan added, and was aware of the negative publicity the case had on the couple's children and his former partner.
The defence agent suggested that prior to the offences his client's behaviour had changed after he suffered a head injury in a serious accident, with the man becoming more irritable and less tolerant of things like background noise.
Allan said Sangster had since moved out of the property and "would like to put this behind him".
Sheriff Mann said while the offences took place outside of a "live marriage" they were very serious.
"This amounts to domestic abuse, which the courts have to take a very dim view of," he said.
As an alternative to a custodial sentence, the sheriff placed Sangster under supervision for 18 months and ordered him to adhere to social workers' recommendations for taking part in the Respect domestic violence programme.
Due to difficulties with arranging unpaid work, Sheriff Mann also fined him £600 as an alternative – but said he wasn't trying to put a "value" on the woman's distress.
A three-year non-harassment order was imposed during Sangster's last court appearance in October.