Corby man who intimidated witness before his trial collapsed is jailed

Lewis Coe managed to get the case against him dismissed after sending threatening texts

Monday, 23rd August 2021, 7:58 am
Updated Monday, 23rd August 2021, 4:32 pm
Lewis Coe

A Corby man sent threatening text messages to intimidate the witness in a court trial against him.

Northampton Crown Court heard that Lewis Coe, 20, sent text angry messages through his mother's phone designed to intimidate his former partner who he had been accused of assaulting following a row over a phone charger. As a result, his trial collapsed and the case against him dismissed.

The court was told that a police constable was called by Coe's girlfriend on January 8 who said he'd assaulted her and damaged her furniture. He was arrested and taken to Weekley Wood custody suite.

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But on the way, he became aggressive and 'increasingly difficult', the court was told

Coe, of Corby, moved forward between the seats while the police vehicle was travelling at 50mph, causing the police officer to fear he was about to be assaulted.

There was a short struggle before Coe calmed down. Coe made full admissions in interview and was charged with criminal damage and assaulting his partner.

But then, five days later Coe used a friend's mobile phone to send texts of a 'threatening and unpleasant' nature to his mum's number. The court was told it was clear they were intended to 'unsettle' his girlfriend.

He was against arrested and remanded in custody on January 15, where he has remained ever since. Despite admissions in police interview, he pleaded not guilty to the assault and criminal damage at his first magistrates' court hearing.

His trial had been due to take place in the magistrates' court in early August but the witness he had intimidated made various excuses about why she could not attend including lack of childcare. The case was dismissed after no evidence was offered.

Coe was at Northampton Crown Court last week to face a charge of assaulting the police officer who had arrested him and of witness intimidation.

In mitigation the court was told that Coe had ADHD and suspected autistic spectrum disorder. He'd left school with few qualifications and had been discharged from the army after just four months. The court heard that he had received medication for his ADHD in prison and had had a 'significant improvement in his behaviour.'

Coe, the court was told, had one previous conviction for false imprisonment from 2018.

Recorder William Davis said: "The messages were clearly understood as threats which intimidated her and by sending them you intended to pervert the course of the proceedings.

"The witness did not not attend the trial, citing childcare difficulties, and you were acquitted.

"It's a very serious offence and I will reflect that in the sentence I pass."

Coe was given 12 months for witness intimidation and an extra month for assaulting the police officer but, as he has already served more than half that sentence while on remand, is expected to be released imminently.

The judge said, 'with some hesitancy', that he would not make a restraining order because the defendant and his girlfriend were now back together and hoped to reconcile on his release from prison so he could provide for their one-year-old daughter.