A GRIEVING widower sent abusive messages to family members as he struggled to come to terms with the death of his wife who was killed in a car crash.

A devastated Paul Devney left malicious voice mail messages for daughter Laura Devney and grandson Kurtis Devney, Newport magistrates’ court heard.

Prosecutor Andrew Gwynne said the defendant had lost his wife Janet, who had been terminally ill, after she died in a road traffic collision on September 9 last year.

He told the court how Mrs Devney’s daughter was driving at the time.

Mr Gwynne said threats were made to the two family members after the defendant’s behaviour started to become erratic in the wake of her death.

Devney, of Treberth Crescent, Newport, pleaded guilty to two counts of sending by public communication network an offensive, indecent, obscene, menacing message or matter.

The offences took place at the end of last month.

The 63-year-old also admitted assaulting two police officers in Newport on August 22.

Mr Gwynne said Devney’s previous convictions were “largely historic” with the most recent being from 2011 when he obstructed a police officer and he also has convictions for a common assault and public order offence.

Devney, represented by Frank Whittle, had been suffering from mental health issues, the court also heard.

Magistrates said his current convictions were for “serious matters” but added that although they had sympathy for him and his personal tragedy “there were nonetheless victims here”.

Devney was sentenced to a 12-month community order, fined £200, ordered to pay prosecution costs of £85 and a victim surcharge, which was also £85.

The defendant told the court he wanted to “patch things up” with his daughter but he was also made the subject of a restraining order not to contact Laura Devney, including by any electronic means, for the next 12 months.