A gym owner who threw a wheelie bin at his former partner’s house and tried to break in against her will has been sentenced to a community order.

Christopher Walsh, of Cheltenham Street, who admitted to charges of criminal damage on March 27 and threatening behaviour, had been messaging Roxanne Ward to change the day of when he would pick up the children.

The conversation turned abusive after she said that she would not be dropping them off that day, a court heard.

This happened despite the Dalton gym owner saying he could not do that day, Lee Dacre said for the prosecution.

“The defendant was giving verbal abuse over the phone,” Mr Dacre said. “Then he left abusive messages which then stopped until later on.

“He said: 'You do not want me to turn up at your doorstep,' which caused the complainant distress.

“She later received a message from the defendant’s sister saying he was coming to her address so she should lock the doors.”

The prosecution went on to say how the front door had been damaged and the locking mechanism had been broken, which meant she could only exit the building via the back door.

The threatening behaviour offence relates to events a week later – April 4 – when again the defendant turned up at the victim’s address when his mother had gone to see her to warn her that he was 'coming for her'.

They called the police before he arrived and shortly after he was there 'banging on the doors' and 'threw a wheelie bin at the window'. He later left when he heard the police sirens in the distance.

The owner of Walshy’s Gym had been under stress at the time with business finances due to the pandemic and was struggling with his mental health, said defence counsel Andy Gallagher mitigating.

Addressing the previous restraining order placed upon the Chapel Street resident for offences against another ex-partner, Mr Gallagher explained that this offence was back in 2020 and the defendant had made 'significant progress' since then.

“He has made significant progress in his life in terms of his difficulties with his use of cocaine and his mental health issues,” the defence said.

“The defendant took on a business shortly before the lockdown which caused financial difficulties, which was a cause for distress and led to mental health difficulties.”

The defence went on to explain that the 33-year-old used cocaine to cope with his difficulties – but noted he had taken action to tackle his issues by going to the local mental health unit shortly before this incident.

The bench at South Cumbria Magistrates’ Court described the incidents as 'shocking and nasty' but were happy to hear that the defendant was taking steps to improve himself.

The community order was imposed on Walsh for 12 months which includes 200 hours of unpaid work as well as 20 days of rehabilitation activity requirements.

A restraining order was imposed for two years and requires him not to contact the victim apart from for childcare.

He was also ordered to pay £115 in compensation, as well as £85 costs and a £95 victim surcharge.