Man banned from contact with ex-lover
A Maidstone man accused of bombarding an ex-partner with hundreds of texts and calls has been given a restraining order after the charges against him were dropped.
John Sage, 36, of Courtenay Road, denied harassing the woman when he appeared before magistrates in September.
The court heard the two had been involved in a four-month extra-marital affair but when this ended Mr Sage continued to contact his former lover, at one point calling her a hundred times in a day and on another sending 62 emails to her work account.
His defence was that he was attempting to make contact to clarify their situation after finding out she was seeing another man.
The case was due to go to trial last Thursday but Adrian Crossley, prosecuting, was unable to offer evidence as the complainant could not attend the hearing because of an important appointment.
Peter Fernando, defending, said his client would accept a restraining order if the charges were dismissed.
He said: “Mr Sage is moving on with his life. He has a new relationship now and will be able to abide by a restraining order.”
Mr Sage was banned from contacting his former partner directly or indirectly or going to her home address. Charismatic former councillor Mike FitzGerald was presented his medal as an MBE for his service to Maidstone charities, but Prince William wanted to know about his custard pie antics.
The 79-year-old served as trustee and then chairman for Homeless Care and is organiser of the World Custard Pie Championships in Coxheath.
Speaking of the ceremony at Buckingham Palace last week, Mr FitzGerald joked: “It was Halloween so I didn’t know whether to wear a mask or not.
“I was quite nervous when I was waiting in a room with everyone else.
“The first thing the Duke of Cambridge said is ‘What is all this about custard pies?’”
Mr FitzGerald, of Laxton Drive, Chart Sutton, joined Maidstone Christian Care, as it was then called, in 2002.
He oversaw the creation of its day centre in Knightrider Street and continues to support the annual food drive, run in association with the Kent Messenger.
A bookbinder by trade, Mr FitzGerald still remembers the hardship brought on by the Second World War and its long legacy of rationing.
He said: “The public in Maidstone are so very generous and so giving, and without the trustees and volunteers who work and give up their time it would be a much poorer and more difficult place to live.
“Today it is all just sinking in and it gives me a very warm feeling. For the family, it may be recognition for all the time I have not been with them.
“I have been very lucky. I have given up my time but people have responded and while I do believe over the years it has made a difference, there continues to be as much a challenge as there ever has been.
“It is also a challenging time for volunteers and trustees as austerity has put a greater burden on them.”
Mr FitzGerald served as Maidstone’s mayor in 2006-7 and independent member for Boughton Monchelsea and Chart Sutton ward until he stood down in 2012. He remains involved with the Royal British Legion and Chart Sutton Parish Council.
He also served as chairman of the Fusion Healthy Living Centre and Kent Community Rail Partnership, for which he received a Li fetime Achievement Award last year.
Aged 29, Mr FitzGerald come up with the idea of hosting a custard pie competition to raise funds for Coxheath Village Hall. The competition has seen teams battle it out at Kent Showground and Mote Park over the years, coming back to the village in 2013.
Mike FitzGerald with wife Maureen receiving his MBE medal at Buckingham Palace, where Prince William wanted to know more about his custard pie antics