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Man sentenced for harassment of teen - Reading

Alert message sent 30/06/2016 14:04:00

Information sent on behalf of Thames Valley Police

A 50-year-old man has been given a suspended sentence for the three month harassment of a 14-year-old girl from Reading via social media and communication via his mobile phone.

Dennis Patton of Wentworth Crescent, Beggarwood, Basingstoke, Hampshire, was sentenced to 22 weeks’ imprisonment which is suspended for two years today (30/6) at Reading Magistrates’ Court. He had been found guilty by magistrates of two counts of harassment at an earlier hearing at the same court on 20 May following a two day trial.

The court heard that between September 2015 and December 2015 Patton contacted the victim, who was aged 14, and her family, who live in the Reading area. He began contacting the victim via Facebook and also threatened to come to the victim’s home, speak to her family and discuss matters of a sexual nature.

From 19 September when the victim blocked him on Facebook, Patton then sent anonymous abusive messages to the victim via mobile phone text messages. Patton also sent abusive messages to the victim’s mother, who forwarded the messages to police.

At the end of September Dennis Patton then began messaging the victim via WhatsApp and Snapchat. Between 25 and 26 September he messaged the victim 36 times via WhatsApp and 16 times via mobile phone text messages that came direct from his telephone number.

On 29 September a hand delivered letter was sent to the victim’s parents from Patton.

On 2, 3 and 4 of October the victim received more mobile phone text messages from someone allegedly connected to Patton’s son.

On 6 October a hand delivered letter and flowers were discovered outside the front door of the victim’s address in Reading.

On 30 November the victim’s mother received a series of abusive mobile phone text messages and a phone call from a telephone which, according to CCTV, was purchased on 30 November by Patton at the Co-op in Broadmere Road, Basingstoke.

On 2 December the victim’s mother received six anonymous abusive mobile phone text messages making reference to the victim.

On 19 December the victim received mobile phone text messages from someone, a stranger, passing messages claiming to be from Patton’s son, via Snapchat. On 20 December another message was received from this person claiming that Patton had sent the message.

Investigating officer, PC Kris Couzens, from Reading CID, said: “This was a consistent and sustained harassment of a young victim and her family via social media and mobile phone communication, which has obviously left the victim feeling very vulnerable and distressed.

“The irony of this is that Patton knew exactly the feelings he would engender in the victim as three years ago he wrote and produced a short film about the impact of bullying on young teenagers which was called Teenage Kicks and was featured in the local media.

“I would like to praise the bravery of the victim and her family throughout the justice process and for them I am glad that justice has been served.”
Message sent by
Liz Herbert (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Reading LPA)

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