Committal for Contempt of Court: The Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary -v- Foxcroft

County CourtCommittal for Contempt of Court

Case Number: J00PR324

In the County Court at Preston

7 November 2023

District Judge Woosnam

The Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary
Derek Foxcroft


MR Bonner appeared on behalf of the Claimant
The Defendant represented himself, having declined legal representation

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  1. This is the consideration of a breach of an order by Derek Foxcroft. This order was granted by this Court on 21 April 2022. It was extended on 21 April 2023, certainly it continues to 21 April 2024. The order sets out that Mr Foxcroft, amongst other things, should not communicate with, associate with Hayley Brown, nor should he go into certain areas of Blackpool close to where Hayley Brown lives. Part of the purpose of the order when it was first granted was to afford protection to Hayley Brown.
  2. There are, within Mr Foxcroft’s record, occasions, to which Mr Bonner has referred, of him being convicted of assault on Hayley Brown, and also of him breaching restraining orders relating to Hayley Brown. That is the background to the injunction order being made.
  3. The order was made. I have noted Mr Foxcroft’s assertion today that the order should not have been made, and I have heard that assertion in this court before. He has appealed the order, and it has not been overturned. It remains in existence.
  4. It has been explained to him by not only this judge, but also by other judges, including HHJ Dodd that the order is in existence. That is the legal fact of the matter, and he is bound by it, whether or not he feels it should have been made, or whether or not he feels that it should bind him. However, that attitude may give indication as to why he behaves in the way that he does in respect of these proceedings.
  5. Mr Bonner has outlined that there have, by his calculation, been nine sets of breach proceedings in this case.
  6. He detailed a brief chronology: the making of the injunction in April 2022, the first breach 7 May 2022, second 21 May 2022, after which, it is a matter of record and within my knowledge, that he was then remanded in custody and not released until early September 2022; immediately then he breached the order again, and then breached it again also in September 2022. He then spent some time away from the area, but he then returned to the area on 3 January; on 18 January 2023, he breached it again; on 19 April, a further breach. He was sent to prison for the January breaches. He was sent to prison again for the July breaches, and he has just been released from prison for the July breaches on 27 October.
  7. He admits the breach in this case. He admits that yet again Hayley Brown was in his company. I have read the statements of the police officers involved. It appears that Hayley Brown did not attend a social care worker meeting on 27 October and had not been seen around her address for a couple of days. She eventually was found at Mr Foxcroft’s premises.
  8. He admits that she was there. He could not deny it, she was found there. His attitude seems to be that if she turned up, he would just let her in, notwithstanding that he knew that he should not be communicating with her, associating with her at all, and was forbidden to do so under the terms of the order. That is even on his version of events. It would appear that they were together for some considerable time: Her having arrived at the latest at 7.30 in the morning, they were found there at midday in his flat.
  9. The essence of this matter is that Mr Foxcroft seems unable to accept that there is an injunction order in place, and that it is binding on him. Whether he thinks it is justified or not, it is there. It is there for a reason. The courts have decided it is there for a reason- to protect Hayley Brown, and indeed to protect other people living in the area that he lives in. He has just failed repeatedly to abide by the order or acknowledge it.
  10. Mr Bonner has been through the sentencing guideline approach, and he has referred me to the case of Lovett v Wigan Borough Council [2022] EWCA Civ 1631. I am conscious that the objectives are firstly to get the defendant to comply with the order. That seems to be an uphill struggle with the Defendant, to say the least. There is also rehabilitation and punishment to consider.
  11. I have to then consider the sentencing guidelines. Where does this start? Culpability: there have been persistent breaches over a prolonged period of time. He has spent many months in prison either on remand or as sentenced, which seems to be the only way in practice that he has been kept out of breaching the order, because as soon as he has released, within days, as happened in September 2022 and , as has happened on this occasion, he has breached the order again.
  12. It appears, as far as that is concerned, it has to be Category A.
  13. Harm: In this incident, it is not alleged that he caused actual harm to Hayley Brown. In that sense, there is no evidence of that, save that I comment,- and this is not evidence,- that one of the officers observed that she had bruising to her right arm. She did say that she had fallen. However, it seems that there is nothing that can be pursued concerning that, but it is a matter of concern that she was in that condition.
  14. She is a vulnerable lady, and the Court has commented before as far as that is concerned. She has had domestic violence orders and restraining orders to protect her. It seems that nothing at this stage will protect her from association or contact with Mr Foxcroft, who is insistent that he will simply ignore the order. In fact by his plea today, he has confirmed that that is his mindset. He just does not see that the order should have been made. He cannot acknowledge and accept that it has been made, that it is in existence and that he should abide by it. He fails to accept the reality of the situation.
  15. Therefore, Category A, and on the risk of harm, given his attitude as far as that is concerned that he will continue to ignore the order and be in contact with Hayley Brown, it must be Category 1.
  16. The starting point then, six months, I bear in mind what has happened previously and the effect or lack of effect that seems to have had on Mr Foxcroft. The sentence of this Court this time is that he should certainly be sent to prison for 12 months.
  17. He has pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, which he has done on the previous two occasions as well, so he has to be given credit for that. The credit he should be given for that is a reduction in the sentence of one third, so go down to eight months that he will be sentenced for, eight months in prison.

End of Judgment