Former Celtic and Hibs striker jailed after repeatedly messaging ex

Anthony Stokes defied court orders to harass his ex-partner and her family

Former Celtic and Hibs striker Anthony Stokes jailed after repeatedly harassing ex partner and her family SNS Group

Footballer Anthony Stokes has been jailed for five months after breaching strict court orders against contacting his ex-girlfriend and her family.

The ex-Celtic and Hibs striker, 35, repeatedly messaged the woman and her parents in defiance of a ban.

Stokes appeared from custody in handcuffs at Hamilton Sheriff Court after causing repeated delays to the case.

Sheriff Colin Dunipace ordered Stokes, of Dublin, to be locked up and blasted him for his conduct towards his former partner.

He was also banned from contacting his former partner for five years and her parents for a year.

Stokes flew from Dublin to Scotland last month and handed himself into Motherwell police station.

He claimed he had failed to return to Scotland to face sentencing after becoming ‘distracted’ by court proceedings against him in the Republic of Ireland.

He had been held in HMP Addiewell where he was kept in his cell for 23 hours a day amid fears for his safety.

Depute fiscal Fergus Warner told the court: “The accused sent numerous emails, 14 in total, to the complainer… accusing her of being unfaithful and questioning her ability as a mother.

“The accused also posted statuses on his social media profiles referencing her cheating on him.”

Jim O’Dowd, defending, said: “Since he has been remanded there has been quite a sea change in his attitude towards the offences.

“He clearly now realises the difficulty and upset that has behaviour has caused his victims.

“He has been in Addiewell since last month and it has been a particularly unpleasant experience for him because people know who he is and he has had quite a hard time.

“He was kept behind his door for 23 hours per day and this has led to him now understanding how serious these matters are.

“He advises me he would comply with any community order but knows custody will be uppermost in the court’s mind.”

Sheriff Dunipace said: “It is extremely disappointing for this court to see someone like you, who is clearly a man of some talent and ability, who has so much to give and who has no doubt brought joy to many, to now find yourself in this situation and I find it extremely tragic.

“It is apparent that your former partner fears for her safety and the statements offered by her to this court are little short of chilling.

“You should be under no illusion that the duty of this court is to protect women from this sort of behaviour.

“You were advised when you were sentenced to a community payback order that it was a direct alternative to custody and yet you have failed to comply.

“I can have no confidence that you would abide by the terms of a further community order.”

In 2019, Stokes admitted bombarding his ex-partner with a string of abusive messages on WhatsApp and email.

He labelled her a ‘s**t’, a ‘s**’ and a ‘w***e’, turned up at her home in Lanarkshire late at night and demanded to know her whereabouts.

The campaign of abuse lasted between July 2018 and February 2019.

Stokes was handed a four-year non-harassment order against the woman and her parents in September 2019 and later placed on an anti-domestic abuse programme.

An arrest warrant was first taken for him in 2021 after he failed to appear to be sentenced over the charges.

Hours after it was taken, the striker posted a selfie on social media with the caption: “Any bad news?”

In July 2022, he was arrested in Northern Ireland and appeared in court via video link.

He was granted bail but again failed to appear and another warrant was issued before a third was taken in October last year.

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