Man banned from con­tact with ex-lover

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

Pic­ture: Al­lan Hutch­ings/The News

Mike FitzGer­ald with wife Mau­reen re­ceiv­ing his MBE medal at Buck­ing­ham Palace, where Prince Wil­liam wanted to know more about his cus­tard pie an­tics

John Sage

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