Ascento imprisoned for threats

  • Into prison: Howard Ascento,  admitted escaping custody, assaulting a policeman, and several breaches of a domestic protection order

A man who attempted to escape from court after he was remanded in custody on a string of charges was sentenced to a total of a year and eight months in jail yesterday.

Howard Ascento, 31, pleaded guilty in Magistrates’ Court to an escape from lawful custody and an assault on a police officer.

The court heard that Ascento appeared in court on October 15 to face several charges including breaches of a protection order.

Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe denied bail and ordered that Ascento should be remanded in custody. But Ascento jumped out of the dock, pushed past a woman police officer and ran out of the courtroom.

He was caught before he could leave the Dame Lois Browne-Evans Building and arrested.

Kentisha Tweed, for the Crown, said the police officer suffered injuries to her back after she was pushed into the court benches.

Ascento also pleaded guilty yesterday to four counts of a breach of a domestic violence protection order and a charge of using threatening words towards the woman subject of the order.

Magistrate Maxanne Anderson heard that Ascento’s ex-girlfriend had obtained a domestic violence protection order against him in 2018, after she had suffered harassment for several months.

Ascento phoned the woman in April that year and sent her a message on social media that said: “U n everyone in ya house going to see tonight.”

The message caused the woman to fear for her life and she alerted police, who arrested Ascento.

Ascento pleaded not guilty to a breach of the protection order and threatening the woman on April 11 last year.

The court also heard that Ascento was alleged to have broken the protection order again by approaching within 100 metres of the woman on December 19 of that year and March 1 of this year.

He also sent the woman direct messages over social media on March 4.

Ascento pleaded not guilty to these offences during his October 15 court date, but switched his plea yesterday.

Ms Anderson sentenced Ascento to nine months imprisonment on the first breach of a domestic violence protection order and 12 months for the other three breaches.

She also sentenced him to three months imprisonment for threatening the woman. The sentences will run concurrently.

He was also sentenced to four months for the escape and four months for the assault.

Ms Anderson said that sentences should be served consecutively.

It was not the first time Ascento had attempted to flee court — he escaped in 2013 after he was sentenced to ten days in prison for driving while disqualified.

He remained on the run for 19 days before he was caught by police on the roof of a house in Warwick and was later sentenced to four months for the offence.