33-year-old Thomas Downs, a gay man living in Berkshire, UK, will serve a 14-month prison sentence. Downs confessed in court to putting a person in fear of violence and sending a letter or communication with threatening words after sending his ex-boyfriend more than 300 messages on the gay dating app Grindr, including one in which he threatened to kill an 11-year-old girl.
The Daily Mail reports that the saga began in 2012 when Downs met Jeffrey Imms. The couple began a romantic relationship which lasted four years before dissolving. Then, in 2017, Downs contacted Imms on Grindr in hopes of rekindling their relationship. The two initially formed a friendship before Downs’ messages began to take a disturbing tone.
Imms began receiving a series of 111 prank phone calls, all on the same day. He also received more than 300 messages on Grindr, many of them threatening violence against him. One even threatened an 11-year-old girl, while another claimed to have put a hit out on Imms’ life.
“I just put out a £1,000 hit on you,” the message read. “Bye bye.”
Police arrested Thomas Downs on July 18 2017, though Downs continued to send threatening messages.
In his court hearing, attorneys for Downs claimed his behavior was the result of mental and emotional stress brought on by his break up with Imms, as well as his parents’ deteriorating health.
“Thomas Downs recoils at the sight of the messages he sent,” Downs’ attorney, Robert Slin, told the court. “He is thoroughly ashamed. He has the support of his new partner who he now resides with.”