Nightmare for TV comedian Bobby Ball ends in court

Ex-son-in-law jailed for harassment TV comedian Bobby Ball saw his former son-in-law jailed for harassment yesterday – and that his two-year "nightmare" was over.

The entertainer had to have closed circuit TV and panic alarms installed at his home in Lytham, Lancashire, after his windows were smashed in a hate campaign by Kenneth O'Sullivan, his daughter's ex-husband.

O'Sullivan, who has 30 previous convictions, bombarded Ball and his wife with "highly unpleasant" phone calls and letters after his marriage to their daughter Joanne broke down.

He threatened to "destroy" the comedian, his family and career by going to the Press with "personal information", Preston Crown Court heard.

O'Sullivan, 38, a builder from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, was jailed for nine months after pleading guilty to two counts of harassment against Ball and his wife, Yvonne.

He also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and absconding while on bail.

Ball hugged his tearful wife in the public gallery of the court as O'Sullivan was jailed.

Rachel Woods, prosecuting, told the court that the defendant had been married to Ball's daughter for 12 years, but they broke up in 2001 after a stormy relationship.

The couple have three children, and O'Sullivan blamed Ball for not allowing him access.

Joanne moved to be with her parents in Lytham at Easter 2004, but the defendant then began his campaign of harassment.

Using Ball's real name, Robert Harper, Miss Woods added: "From then onwards, Mr and Mrs Harper were bombarded with a succession of telephone calls and correspondence, persistent telephone calls over a period of three months.

"The defendant would ring and ring and ring, even though on many occasions they were responded to with the telephone being put down, many times into the early hours of the morning.

"On some occasions, messages were left on the answer phone. They were highly unpleasant, involving threats from the defendant, he would destroy Mr Harper, and had been waiting a long time to do so."

Miss Woods added: "It was evident from the nature of the calls and threats that he blamed Mr and Mrs Harper for him being denied access to the children."

Police were called after house windows were smashed in July 2004.

O'Sullivan was seen in his car nearby, but sped away from police who chased him at high speed before he was arrested.

Ball bearings, a catapult and a letter warning "Bob" to "watch out for the grand finale" were found in the car, the court heard.

O'Sullivan was bailed until January 2005, but went on the run for the next 20 months and was arrested in October 2006.

The court heard he had a long record for burglary, dishonesty and handling.

Paul Treble, mitigating, said O'Sullivan now had a 15-month-old child with another woman living in Rochdale, and wanted to get on with his life and put the past behind him.

Jailing O'Sullivan for nine months, Judge Andrew Blake told him: "The sort of behaviour you exhibited in 2004, I hope you now realise, is completely unacceptable."

The defendant was also given a restraining order, not to go within 100 metres of Ball's house or that of his daughter, and not to contact any of them, directly or indirectly or through a third party, except through a solicitor.

He was also banned from driving for 12 months.

O'Sullivan has been in custody for the past three months and will be eligible for release in eight weeks.

Outside court, Ball said: "It is end of two-and-a-half years of nightmare, we got a result and we will see what happens. It got really, really bad. We hope it's the end of it."