A DOMESTIC abuser who threatened to post intimate pictures of two former partners on social media sites, and told one of them he would set fire to her home, has been spared a jail term.

Johnathon Dooley was slammed for his “despicable and disgraceful” behaviour when he appeared in court for sentencing.

The 26-year-old was sentenced at Dumbarton Sheriff Court last Thursday after pleading guilty to four charges of abusive or threatening behaviour towards the two women.

He threatened to publish pictures and videos of the first woman between March 1 and March 29, 2016, and did the same to his second victim between May 1 and October 31 last year.

Dooley also admitted shouting and swearing at his second victim, threatening her with violence, threatening to set fire to her house and throwing and breaking glasses, also between May 1 and October 31 last year, at his home address in Mount Pleasant Drive in Old Kilpatrick and at a property in Auchnacraig Road in Faifley.

In addition, he admitted recording an intimate image of the second woman without her consent while she was asleep on a single occasion between September 1 and 30, 2017.

Dooley had pleaded guilty to four separate charges at a hearing on August 9.

Sentence was deferred until Thursday’s hearing for social workers to prepare a background report, and for Dooley to be assessed for a place on the PAIR programme, a West Dunbartonshire Council initiative for domestic abusers.

Dooley’s lawyer, Judith Reid, told Sheriff William Gallacher: “The choice here is stark: a custodial sentence or a [community payback] order which would be at the maximum level.

“I would submit that your Lordship could protect the public, and future partners of Mr Dooley, by imposing such an order with a requirement to attend the PAIR programme, and unpaid hours of work as a punishment, as opposed to sending him to prison.”

Ms Reid said she had seen “a substantial change in attitude” on Dooley’s part during the progress of the court case, and said he had been “extremely, and visibly, shocked and upset” when she had read out to him the words he had used towards his victims, captured in screenshots of his messages.

Ms Reid said: “There has been a background of Mr Dooley drinking and using cannabis, and I think an element also of, having behaved in this way, his trying deliberately to forget about it and not associate himself with this type of behaviour.

“He is now not drinking. He has recognised his failures in his relationships and he is trying to do what he can to develop the coping mechanisms that others might have.”

Ms Reid told the court the relationship with Dooley’s second victim had been “entirely toxic”, and said that he was trying to get help from his GP to improve his mental health.

Dooley originally faced three further charges – one accused him of threatening or abusive behaviour towards his first victim over a period of two and a half years dating back to October 2013, and a second claimed that he had taken videos and photographs of the woman without her consent between the same dates.

A third saw him charged with assaulting his second ex-partner by seizing her by the clothing and pouring liquid over her head during June 2018.

But his pleas of not guilty to those three charges were accepted by prosecutors.

Sheriff Gallacher told Dooley: “When these facts were first narrated to me, I recall that my reaction was ‘how dare you’.

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“Instances of abuse come in all shapes and sizes, and those who offend against their partners or ex-partners also come in all shapes and sizes.

“Your behaviour towards people with whom you had some form of relationship, and for whom you presumably cared – and who cared for you – was despicable and disgraceful.

“Your conduct in relation to your own attitude was, I regret to say, entirely typical of those who treat their partners with contempt and disdain.

“It is with some hesitation that I reach the decision that I do not require to send you to prison.”

Dooley was handed a community payback order with three years of social work supervision, and a specific condition that he attend the PAIR programme.

He was also ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work, and was handed a non-harassment order banning him from having any form of contact with his second victim for three years.

The sheriff added: “I earnestly hope I will never see you again. If you appear before me again for an offence of this type, I will not tolerate anything other than a custodial sentence for as long as parliament allows.”