Former Gloucestershire batsman Grant Hodnett “came perilously close to custody”, according to chair magistrate Alan Davies, after pleading guilty to the charge of stalking involving serious alarm or distress.
The 38-year-old played 28 times for the West Country side between 2005 and 2009. He was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete a two-year community order. He will also have to attend a course on how to build better relationships, contribute 150 hours of unpaid work, complete 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days, and pay £335 in court costs.
Warrington Magistrates’ Court heard how he attempted to “blacken the name” of his ex-partner after finding out she was an adult model. The discovery led to the pair ending their relationship, and Hodnett then sent 20 explicit photos of his former partner to her father and sent messages calling her a “psychopath” to her family, friends, and employers.
“The complainant is scared about what will happen next as the defendant’s behaviour was escalating further and further,” prosecutor Lucy Fitch-Adams read from a victim impact statement. “The defendant is aware she is a recovering alcoholic and signing her email up for sites has caused a decline in her mental health.
“She believes the defendant is trying to make her have a breakdown and wants his persistent and unwanted behaviour to stop, as it is making her life a misery.”
Hodnett was spared jail time by his “previous good character”, with more than 25 character references written on his behalf. He has no previous convictions, but was cautioned for harassment in June 2015.
“The activities of the complainant came to the attention of the defendant, and this caused him to have a total breakdown as he felt betrayed,” said Mark Haslam in defence. “He spent three days in custody after his arrest, which was ample time for him to consider his behaviour.”
Hodnett made two hundreds for Gloucestershire, both coming in 2007.