Magistrates fine Romford man �210 for harassing own son

A stunned Romford florist’s worker was fined �210 for phoning and texting his own son.

Brian Relf, of Thurloe Gardens, appeared at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court last Thursday (September 6) charged with harassing 21-year-old Patrick Relf. He pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay �110, plus �85 costs and a �15 victim surcharge.

Relf, 48, was arrested after making nine phone calls and sending four texts to his son, despite having been issued with a first instance harassment warning by police days earlier.

Prosecuting, Elizabeth Ajayi said the defendant had been given the initial warning after sending texts that were “sometimes abusive and threatening in nature”.

But Relf Snr said he continued to send his son messages because he needed help looking after his disabled wife – who was present in court – while he recovered from an ankle injury.

Defending, Miss Ironside told the court Rosemary Relf had “serious health problems” and required care and hospital appointments.

“Mr Relf had damage to his leg and his wife had to attend a hospital appointment,” she said. “He asked if his son would go with his wife to the hospital.”

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But Mr Relf Jnr ignored the calls, instead phoning the police, who arrested his father.

Miss Ironside said her client had hoped “bridges could be built” if Mr Relf Jnr came over to the family home to help his mother.

“They have had some arguments before but never anything like this,” she said.

After the hearing, Relf Snr told the Recorder: “I only phoned him up to ask if he could help his mum.

”I thought the fine was over the top – but this will cost Patrick more.

“It’s cost him half his family.”

Relf Snr said he had acquired the ankle injury while trying unsuccessfully to catch a moth.

Issuing the fine, the chairman said: “The ups and downs of family life can sometimes get out of hand, but when you are given a warning it’s in your own interest to heed it.

“We are going to fine you for this matter so you can draw a line under it and get on with your bridge-building.”