News

Man jailed for breaking lockdown to harass mother of his children

A ‘unpredictable and violent’ dad-of-two broke a restraining order during lockdown to harass the mother of his children in the night.

Stuart Edge, 34, clambered through an upstairs bedroom window to accuse Nicola Skidmore of seeing other men, before slapping and pushing her as their eight-year-old daughter looked on on April 20.

The father was jailed for 16 months after ignoring a restraining order that banned him from contacting his ex for two years three times.

Miss Skidmore was watching TV with her daughter in her home in Denton, Greater Manchester at 11pm, when Edge broke into the back garden and climbed up onto a flat garage roof before appearing at the bedroom window.

David Lees prosecuting, told Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester: ‘Miss Skidmore was startled and screamed his name but he snatched her mobile phone and when she tried to retrieve it, he slapped her across the face.

‘He began ranting about her seeing other men, then pushed her causing to fall into a chest of drawers.

‘Her daughter was present throughout. Miss Skidmore said she was shocked and scared and didn’t know what he was going to do next.’

Edge – who had 34 offences on his record, including robbery, theft, burglary and wounding – fled the scene when Miss Skidmore went to a neighbour’s house to phone the police.

He answered a call from the victim’s mother and agreed to meet with her so he could return the phone, but was later arrested and refused to answer any questions in a police interview.

The court heard how the couple, who were together seven years, had broken up in 2018 following a number of fights.

Edge was convicted of battery and a restraining order was imposed after he kicked down Miss Skidmore’s front door, grabbing her and accusing her of seeing other men in the same year.

He was then jailed in May 2018 for 18 weeks when he breached the order by phoning his ex and going to her home.

In April 2019, he went to prison for a further 18 weeks after a second breach.

In a statement Miss Skidmore said: ‘This has left me really shaken up. I am scared of Stuart and what he might do. He’s had a massively negative influence on my life over the years and I don’t want him ruining my daughters’ lives too.

‘He has had nothing to do with them and has never made an effort to be a proper father to them. The fact he has breached the restraining order for the third time obviously shows he has no regard for it or for me and my daughters.

‘I just feel every time he does something like this I am put back to square one wondering when he will do it all again and I’m scared of what he will do next. Just when I think he’s out of my life he starts up again. All we want is for him to leave us alone and stay away from us.

‘Whilst I am aware he has been locked up, I am already scared about what might happen when he is released. That’s always in my mind when he is arrested because in the past he just starts kicking off again.

‘He’s unpredictable and violent and when uses cocaine it make things even worse. For him to come round out of the blue and burst into my bedroom window is just mad and frightening and shows how out of control he can be.’

In mitigation defence counsel, Miss Nicola Gatto said: ‘He has struggled to come to terms with the end of the relationship. When he is under the influence of drink and drugs, his paranoia about what she is doing is significantly exacerbated.’

Edge, from Stalybridge was jailed for 16 months after admitting affray, battery, and breach of the order at Minshull Street Crown Court.

He was also banned from contacting Miss Skidmore for a further five years under the terms of a new restraining order.

During sentencing, Judge John Potter told Edge: ‘Not surprisingly, Miss Skidmore was terrified at what you were doing. She screamed and I have no doubt your child was also caused considerable alarm as well.

‘But you were angry once more and snatched the mobile phone and made completely groundless allegations against Miss Skidmore. She went to remonstrate with you but you slapped her across the face and pushed into as chest of drawers.

‘It was an upsetting incident for Miss Skidmore and her child and she is terrified of your behaviour towards her and remains scared as to her future wellbeing should you be at liberty.

‘This was yet another incident of violent bullying and controlling behaviour by you and this is not the first time you have sought to control her behaviour in the sanctity of her own home.’