Shoreham woman faces jail over stabbing threat

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A woman from Shoreham-by-Sea is facing a possible jail term after repeatedly threatening to stab a man and burn down his flat.

Rosie Ralph, 22, of Middle Road, Shoreham, sent 48 harassing text messages to the man over the space of a few weeks.

Ralph appeared at Chichester Crown Court on Thursday, November 12, where she was also due to be sentenced for three counts of possessing a bladed article in a public place and assaulting a police constable and a police community support officer.

Taking into account Ralph’s ‘severe mental health problems’, judge Christopher Parker QC adjourned her sentencing so a specialist report could be drawn up to see if an alternative to a jail term could be found.

Judge Parker QC told Ralph: “You are to remain in custody until December 10, where you will definitely be sentenced.

“You are either going straight to prison for a considerable period or you will be given intense supervision to protect you and the public.

“I don’t want you to be abandoned. But it’s going to require significant care from somebody with significant experience of this type of case.”

The court heard that between June 2 and June 30, 2015, Ralph sent 48 text messages to a man she knew.

In one of the messages, which was typical, Ralph threatened to ‘set your flat on fire and knock on your door and stab you tonight’, Charmaine Wilson, prosecuting, said.

It left the man ‘too scared to leave his flat’ in case Ralph was waiting outside.

Defending, John Naylor said Ralph had turned down the man’s sexual advances, which had led to her messaging him.

On another occasion police were called to Hove after Ralph had called 999 to say she had taken an overdose and had a knife on her.

On August 4 of this year, she was arrested for possessing a blade in her handbag and kicked a police constable and a PCSO in a vehicle on the way to the police station.

Ralph had previously admitted all the charges and defending, Mr Naylor told the court: “It has to be noted that most of the offending is as a result of her mental health problems’.

The court heard that Ralph, who has a personality disorder, had breached a number of conditional discharges and a suspended prison sentence for similar offences.

Judge Parker QC adjourned the sentencing until December 10, and asked the probation service to produce a detailed report for alternatives to jail.

But he warned: “Rosie Ralph you were last in front of me in May this year where you received a suspended prison sentence.

“A great deal of care was made to try to help you but there wasn’t any guarantee a suspended sentence would stop you committing further offences and clearly it hasn’t done.

“If there is a way of helping you it will be found, but I cannot promise you will avoid prison.”

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