Woman harassing husband whilst watching football, goes to court

A woman has admitted harassment after repeatedly calling her husband while he was out watching a football match before ringing his friends demanding to know his whereabouts.


59-year-old Joanne Healey called 60-year-old Steve Healey, her partner of 37 years, numerous times on his mobile while he was watching a Chelsea v Manchester United game at a friend’s house. She became increasingly irate that her husband was ignoring her and began ringing Steve’s friends, John and Debbie Ashworth. She called them repeatedly on their landline demanding he returned home and brought the dog, which he was looking after, with him.


After the match finished Mr Healey returned to his house in Rock Ferry, Wirral, and discovered his wife had been drinking heavily. 


The incident occurred last October after Mrs Healey fell out with Mrs Ashworth over her drinking habits. The pair previously had been friends for 30 years. The court heard that in the days leading up to the football match Healey sent abusive texts and social media messages to Mrs Ashworth. Mrs Ashworth blocked Healey’s number on her mobile but then began receiving numerous unwanted phone calls to her landline. On one occasion, Healey was said to have phoned the house phone 59 times in the space of two hours.


In a statement, Mrs Ashworth told police: “On Oct 22 last year, Mrs Healey was ringing constantly. I was at home with my husband John, my son and also her husband, Steve Healey. We were all watching a football match on the TV. Mr Healey had his mobile phone with him but it kept ringing. She was asking him where he was and when he would be home and demanded that he bring the dog back. Steve said that he would be home soon and will bring the dog back soon but he stopped answering his phone and she started ringing my landline instead.”


Mrs Ashworth said she told the drunken woman to leave her alone and to stop calling. “Her reaction was drunken abuse, shouting and swearing at me, calling me and my husband ‘paedophiles’ and calling me a ‘slag’. In the end, we just left the receiver off the hook and put the volume up on the TV so we could not hear her shouting down the phone.” Mrs Ashworth later contacted the police to report the harassment.


Mr Lionel Cope, prosecuting, said: “[Healey] said the reason that she was ringing was that her husband had the dog… She said she didn’t want her husband but the dog. She said that when she rang, they just kept putting the phone down which annoyed her.”


Rebecca Boswell, Healey’s lawyer, said: “Although she likes a drink, she is not dependent on alcohol. But she accepts that maybe when she has had a drink, maybe what she has bottled up comes out.”


Sentencing Healey at Wirral magistrates’ court, JP Mary Garvey said: “It is unfortunate that you are in court today. The calls were persistent and prolonged but we are not going to place a restraining order on you because of the passage of time, it is over eight months and there have been no further incidents.”


Healey pleaded guilty to harassment and was sentenced to a 12-month community order and fined £80. She must pay also £234 in costs and victim surcharge, and attend 20 days of rehabilitative activity with the probation service.