A MAN who flouted a court order eight times by contacting his ex-wife has been spared jail.

Darren Steele, of Royal Berkshire Close, Didcot, had already admitted the eight separate counts of harassment by breaching a restraining order.

Oxford Crown Court heard at his sentencing hearing yesterday how the 47-year-old had ‘persistently’ contacted his ex-wife between July and September this year.

Prosecutors said he repeatedly messaged her and saw her in person despite being told by the court he was not allowed to contact her.

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The court heard the contact with his victim centred largely on Steele’s eight children.

Steele represented himself at court and he told the judge: “I am very sorry, I am a good dad, I love my kids.”

He added he was in full time employment and said: "I will never text her ever again."

Sentencing, Judge Peter Ross said the offence 'undoubtedly' passed the custodial threshold but that he could suspend that jail term.

Steele was handed a 12-month jail term, suspended for two years.

He was also given a community order to include 10 days rehabilitation activity requirement, participation in the Building Better Relationships programme and must carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.