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A Gravesend man who escaped custody after being arrested for a series of harassment and stalking offences was sentenced to more than three years in prison

 

William Reader fled Medway Magistrates’ Court on Saturday, February 12, 2022, after assaulting a member of court staff during a remand hearing.

Reader was arrested on 10 February and was in court facing multiple charges after allegations of repeated violence and threats against a woman and her family. These offences occurred between December 2021 and January 2022, when he threw bricks through windows, slashed car tyres, and repeatedly threatened to harm and kill them. He punched two of the female victims, as well as a witness who tried to intervene, in one incident.

Reader was refused bail and was about to be returned to his cell during the court hearing when he suddenly pushed over a court detention officer and stole keys to the security doors, allowing him to escape the building. The 26-year-old eluded police for two days before being apprehended at an address in Stockton-on-Tees and charged with evading lawful custody.

Reader appeared in Maidstone Crown Court on Tuesday, July 26th, and pleaded guilty to charges of stalking involving fear of violence and evading lawful custody. In addition, he admitted to three counts of criminal damage, three counts of assault, and a charge of assault by beating an emergency worker. Reader, formerly of Nursey Grove in Gravesend, was sentenced to three years and six months in prison, as well as restraining orders against two women.

‘Reader subjected his victims to repeated and sustained abuse and threats,’ said PC Daryl Johnson of the Proactive Vulnerability Team, who led the investigation. He harassed me relentlessly, making numerous phone calls and sending unwanted texts. His actions have caused a great deal of distress, fear, and anxiety, and have had a profound and long-lasting impact. Thankfully, justice has finally caught up with him, and I hope that this sentence brings some peace of mind to those who have been affected by his heinous behaviour.’