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Arbroath abuser berated partner in Ferry pubs and left 80 voicemails in one night

James Walton engaged in abusive behaviour for 9 months, Dundee Sheriff Court heard.

James Walton.
James Walton.

A paranoid domestic abuser from Arbroath deleted his partner’s social media followers, publicly berated her and bombarded her with 80 voicemails in one night during a campaign of harassment.

James Walton repeatedly breached bail conditions by being in the woman’s company and making abusive remarks towards her.

A court was told how Walton managed to access the woman’s hotel room in Broughty Ferry and left 80 voicemails in one night.

His conduct was slated by a sheriff who said his behaviour would have a “lasting psychological impact” on his victim.

The abuser – a full-time carer for his parents – has been ordered to perform unpaid work after admitting the series of offences committed over nine months.

Social media torment

Walton, 55, of East Abbey Street in Arbroath, had met the woman online and began the relationship in October 2022 but things turned sour during the Christmas period.

Dundee Sheriff Court heard how the pair were renovating a property in Dundee but petty Walton saw red when the woman posted a Facebook image of her renovated bedroom.

Angry Walton texted and phoned to ask if that was so other men could see her bedroom, before demanding she delete the picture.

Social media apps on phone
Abusive Walton accessed his partner’s social media after taking her phone. Image: PA.

In another incident, the pair were in a pub when Walton grabbed the woman’s phone and said: “F***ing looking at guys on Facebook.”

He left with the phone and when it was apparent he was not returning, the woman drove herself home and found it unlocked.

All her Instagram followers were gone and it was clear Walton had gone through her social media apps.

The court was also told of other incidences of Walton making abusive remarks.

Disastrous night out

A night out in Broughty Ferry in February 2023 ended in disaster with the pair arguing before she ordered food in the Fisherman’s Tavern and he stormed out.

He later phoned her and demanded: “Get the f*** out of there now or we’re over” but the woman continued to eat her dinner.

She later went to The Eagle Coaching Inn but was repeatedly harassed by Walton.

He “firmly” grabbed her arm to get her to leave with him but she escaped his clutches.

Eagle Coaching Inn in Broughty Ferry.
Walton harassed the woman at the Eagle Coaching Inn in Broughty Ferry.

She continued drinking at several pubs in the Ferry while upset and was asked to leave The Anchor and was described as being “hysterical” in The Fort Hotel.

Police escorted her to Jolly’s Hotel, where she was staying the night but instead dropped her off at home in Dundee after a menacing call from Walton was put on loudspeaker.

However, she got a taxi back to Jolly’s and woke at 3am to find uninvited Walton sitting on the edge of the bed before leaving.

He had left around 80 voicemails.

‘Lasting psychological impact’

Walton admitted multiple charges of breaching bail conditions by contacting the woman and on one occasion, on August 24 2023, he placed a WhatsApp call, demanding she turn the camera round to show who or what was around her before being verbally abusive.

Walton previously pled guilty to engaging in an abusive course of conduct in Dundee, Broughty Ferry and Lunan Bay between October 1 2022 and July 4 2023.

As an alternative to custody, Sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown ordered him to perform 300 hours of unpaid work with two years supervision.

Walton was also placed on a programme aimed at preventing future domestic offending and must inform his supervising officer of any new relationships.

James Walton
James Walton leaves Dundee Sheriff Court.

In a sentencing statement, Sheriff Martin-Brown said she could have jailed him.

She said: “You have engaged in a catalogue of coercive and controlling behaviour which is likely to have a lasting psychological impact.

“You have also repeatedly breached bail conditions.

“Whilst you stated you accepted full responsibility for aspects of the various offences, social work have also reported that there was evidence of minimisation throughout their interview with you.

“You denied certain offences had occurred, apportioned blame for your behaviour to your mental health.

“You also expressed some concerning views towards both women and relationships.”

Sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown
Sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown.

However, she added: “You are a full-time carer for your elderly parents and are not currently in employment.

“I am of the view that in light of all the particular circumstances of this case, the non-custodial sentence I have imposed achieves the purposes of punishment and societal disapproval, as well as the opportunity for effective rehabilitation.”

Walton, who previously served a lengthy jail stint for drugs offences, is also banned from contacting the woman for the next two years as part of a non-harassment order.

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