Barnstaple fugitive who skipped court to get drunk jailed

Exeter Crown Court

Exeter Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A fugitive who said he would rather go partying than hand himself in has been jailed after four months on the run. 

George Ousley broke a suspended sentence within days of it starting and then told his probation officer he wanted to stay at large so he could ‘get drunk and party with my friends’. 

He promised to hand himself in after Christmas and the New Year but did not do so and was only picked up by police over the weekend. 

Ousley received a nine-month suspended sentence for dangerous driving on September 30 last year but was ordered back to court in November for breaking a curfew, which was part of the sentence. 

He failed to turn up and had been on the run since a warrant for his arrest was issued at Exeter Crown Court on November 17. 

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His probation officer spoke to him twice in the next three weeks and advised himself to surrender to police but he refused. 

In the first call he said he planned to carry on lying low and in the second he said he was going out to party. 

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Ousley, aged 23, of Church Lake, Barnstaple, admitted breaching a suspended sentence and curfew and Judge Peter Johnson activated eight months of his sentence. 

He told him: “You seem to have had a reckless disregard for the court order, exemplified by what you said to the probation officer about not handing yourself in.” 

Mr Tom Bradnock, prosecuting, said Ousley was breached by the probation service after he missed appointments and broke his tagged curfew on six successive nights in late October, arriving home on one occasion at 1.55 am. 

His probation officer managed to speak to him twice on the phone. In the first call, he claimed to have missed court because of a Covid test but refused to hand himself in. 

Mr Bradnock said: “There was another call on December 7 in which he said he was going about his life as normal but would consider handing himself in after Christmas and the New Year so as to give himself a chance to get drunk and party with my friends.” 

Mr Herc Ashworth, defending, said Ousley had broken the curfew because he had been working late at a tourist attraction and missed his bus home. 

He said he was never given a chance to do unpaid work or attend a thinking skills course because they were delayed by the pandemic. 

Ousley told the judge he had worked rather than partied over Christmas and had not cut off the tag, which is still on his leg. 

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