A FACEBOOK pest who bombarded his ex-partner with hundreds of messages using fake profiles was told he could not use Covid-19 as a get out of jail free card.

Daniel Brace of Lime Avenue, Worcester, who has a history of harassing his ex-partners, had previously been spared jail after admitting assault occasioning actual bodily harm and two counts of criminal damage against his latest girlfriend.

On the last occasion a Worcester judge had given him a 14-month prison sentence suspended for two years and a 10 year restraining order to protect her from him.

Judge Martin Jackson had already taken into account conditions in prisons due to the pandemic when suspending the sentence - but Brace was not given a second chance when he appeared over videolink at Worcester Crown Court on Friday before the city's most senior judge.

Prisoners can spend up to 23 hours in their cells as part of a regime designed to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and judges can take these harsher conditions into account when sentencing following observations made by the Lord Chief Justice.

However, Judge James Burbidge QC, the Recorder of Worcester, said submissions on the ‘Manning Covid discount’ had already been made on Brace's behalf on the previous occasion.

He added: “He has chosen to breach an order knowing he would be sent back to that type of condition. I think he has had his one chance with that discount.”

The 34-year-old breached the restraining order within days of being released from prison.

Sally Cairns, prosecuting, said: “The defendant was released from prison having been on remand since his arrest for those offences in April. A few days after his release the defendant started calling [the victim] and sending messages via Facebook in breach of the terms of the restraining order.”

Miss Cairns said Brace ‘continued messaging her via Facebook’ and she received ‘hundreds of messages and calls’.

She added: “He has used 50 social media profiles, creating fake profiles under different names.”

Despite being asked to desist he continued to message her and was arrested on September 21.

In interview Brace said he had received a number of messages and calls from her after his release from prison. He said she had contacted him on September 20, trying to get him to go to her home.

Brace has 13 previous convictions on his record going back to 2005. In that year he was convicted of harassment against a different ex-partner, breaching that restraining order in 2006. He was convicted of battery in 2007 and criminal damage in 2008. In 2013 there was a further offence of harassment, again against a different ex-partner and breach of further court orders.

Miss Cairns said the aggravating features were his previous convictions, that a suspended sentence was in place at the time and that the offences were committed ‘immediately after the restraining order was imposed’.

Mark Sheward, defending, said the relationship between his client and the woman was short, lasting only six months.

He added: “He accepts that, during that relationship he, at one point on April 15, assaulted her and caused damage to her property and thereafter received a suspended sentence of 14 months.”

Mr Sheward said although there was ‘mutual contact’ between the two ‘he was the one that was the subject to the restraining order’.

They met up for a walk along the river. "He said she said it would be okay. He now knows it wasn't okay" said Mr Sheward.

He said the defendant’s father was under investigation for shadows on his lungs. “It’s suspected he may have cancer” said the Worcester solicitor.

Judge Burbidge told Brace: “You have a character flaw when you engage with women in your life because you harass them and upset them.”

The judge jailed him for 20 months – all 14 months activated from the suspended sentence order and a further six months on top for breach of the restraining order.