Man jailed after false imprisonment in Hopton

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A man who threatened his former girlfriend with a knife has been jailed for 30 months.

Paul Earl used a knife to threaten his ex-girlfriend and later went on to gag, blindfold and tie up his own sister.

The 25-year-old, of Grove Park, Walsham-le-Willows, denied false imprisonment and affray in Hopton on November 24 and false imprisonment and affray in Rickinghall on December 12.

A jury sitting at Ipswich Crown Court found him guilty of false imprisonment in Hopton and affray in Rickinghall but cleared Earl of false imprisonment at Rickinghall.

His ex-girlfriend Vicki Clements told Ipswich Crown Court how Earl was allowed into her home in The Street, Hopton, after tapping on a window. She caught him looking through her underwear drawer and, despite repeatedly being told to leave, Earl locked the front door, produced a kitchen knife from his pocket and pointed it at her.

During the incident, two young children were in the house. After putting the knife away, Earl went into the kitchen and Miss Clements managed to get outside with the children.

She said Earl left the house but returned the same day and tapped on the windows again asking to speak to her.

She alerted her partner, who came to the house while his mother phoned the police.

Emma Nash, prosecuting, said Earl was arrested soon afterwards.

The second incident was at the home of Earl’s sister Sophie, in Church Meadow, Rickinghall – three days after he was charged in connection with the Hopton incident.

Miss Nash said that after pushing past his sister into her home, he grabbed Miss Earl and pulled her inside the bathroom where he pushed her to the floor, stuffed his boxer shorts into her mouth and put a patch of adhesive tape over her mouth. Earl warned her that if she resisted she would be hurt.

Her brother tied her hands with his belt and put a scarf over her eyes, the court was told. Miss Earl said she freed her hands and fled barefoot to the house of a neighbour to raise the alarm.

The court heard that Earl denied anything had happened in the bathroom.