A TRENTHAM man who launched a tirade of abuse and threatened to sexually assault a female police officer was jailed yesterday.
Stephen Welsh, 39, appeared in the Ballarat Magistrates Court, pleading guilty to charges of stalking and threatening to inflict injury on a police officer.
The court heard that between May and December last year, Welsh made several threatening phone calls to a female constable who was originally working at a Melbourne police station.
The constable then moved to Morwell, where she remained a target of repeated threats and abuse from Welsh.
The court heard the police officer had originally contacted Welsh to advise him to stop calling his mother, when Welsh launched into a “deluge of abuse”.
Defence lawyer Vincent Peters said Welsh believed the officer was not acting in an official capacity and did not find out until later that he was in fact under investigation.
However, Magistrate Peter Couzens said it was “highly unlikely” that Welsh was unaware he was calling an officer, given he rang a police station to abuse her.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Clint Prebble told the court the offending started in May last year, when Welsh reacted angrily after receiving a call from the officer.
“The accused instantly became aggressive. He continued to abuse the victim despite warnings,” Senior Constable Prebble said.
In December last year, Welsh continued to call the officer, who had moved from Melbourne to Gippsland.
The court heard of the aggressive sexual threats that were made to the officer and another officer who took his call.
Acting in defence of his client, Mr Peters said his client did not deny he made the comments, but he was unaware it was to a police officer acting in an official role.
He said Welsh battled with depression and was dealing with a separation from his wife and the fact he had been sexually abused.
In sentencing, Mr Couzens said he recognised Welsh was remorseful but said police need not be subject to such abuse.
“It’s little wonder I’m told the officer was in extreme fear and contacted police welfare for some sort of assistance,” Mr Couzens said.
Welsh was sentenced to four months prison, two months to be served immediately and a further two months suspended for two years.