A STALKER who harassed his former partner, punched her in the face and sent her unwanted messages has avoided an immediate prison sentence.

Matthew Pullen, 32, was already subject to a non-molestation order when he confronted his ex-partner on four different occasions at her home address in Western Way, Basingstoke.

Between April 10 and May 25 this year he caused her “harm and distress” by attending her home address uninvited. On one occasion he grabbed her phone and punched her in the face, later that day he sent her a number of unwanted messages. He then returned to her home and was “banging on the door shouting to be let in”.

On another occasion he waited till she had left and bent her kitchen frame in attempt to enter the property.

Pullen, of Lavender Court, Andover, appeared at Winchester Crown Court after he pleaded guilty to stalking during an earlier appearance at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court.

Prosecutor Alexandra Wilson said: “She (the victim) has been caused a lot of distress; this has followed on from a number of other incidents.”

In mitigation, Roseanna Martin said that Pullen is “open to exploring a variety of accredited programmes” to address his behaviour towards women.

Ms Martin said that her client’s father is a carpet fitter and Pullen is needed to help him as a “key part of his business as a trained employee”.

She added: “Part of these problems occur when he has alcohol. He finds life difficult and when he struggles he turns to alcohol.

“He accepts that he has got a problem and he wants to resolve it.”

Mr Recorder James Watson QC handed Pullen a 10-month prison sentence suspended for two years. He must complete 30 rehabilitation days and will be subject of a curfew between 8pm and 5am for three months.

In sentencing Pullen, the judge said: “The period in April of this year in which you stalked her, in breach of a non-molestation order, was a period when you should have known better, you should have known better because you have done it before, in effect losing your self-control arising out of issues in a domestic relationship.”

Pullen was also made subject of an exclusion period in which he must not go within half a mile of the victim’s address.