Jilted and enraged man threatened to torch ex-girlfriend in her car

Their relationship only lasted 10 weeks but when it broke down, a Dunedin man sent his ex-girlfriend 100 messages in a day.

The breakup was a surprise to Shaun Matthew Cavanagh, his counsel Alan de Jager said, not that that excused the torrent of rage that subsequently flowed from the 42-year-old.

Cavanagh appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday after pleading guilty to a charge of threatening to kill.

Among the messages he sent on September 14 last year were two that were overtly threatening, rather than only abusive, the court heard.

“I’ll get your car and f… burn you in it,” one said.

Later, Cavanagh added, “f… you watch your f… back I’m coming for you.”

de Jager said the defendant had battled substance addiction and was also receiving treatment for a “diagnosed condition”.

A recent test proved the man was now drug free, he said.

Judge David Robinson acknowledged that was a positive step but a report compiled by Probation on Cavanagh in February cast him in a less favourable light.

The defendant openly admitted breaching his bail by contacting the victim by cellphone and he showed an unwillingness to do a rehabilitative programme.

He had done a Stopping Violence programme three times and it had not worked, he said.

The report writer said Cavanagh appeared to believe his offending should have no consequences and that any sentences imposed simply stopped him “moving forward” with his life.

Where to go for help

• If you, or someone you know, is in immediate danger, phone 111 for assistance

• Women’s Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 – 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843

• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day – 0508 744 633

• It’s Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz

• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and Middle Eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584

• Ministry of Justice: www.justice.govt.nz/family-justice/domestic-violence

• National Network of Stopping Violence: www.nnsvs.org.nz

• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men’s violence towards women www.whiteribbon.org.nz

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