Reader fled Medway Magistrates Court
A man from Gravesend who escaped court custody after he was arrested for a series of harassment and stalking offences has been sentenced to more than three years in prison.
William Reader fled Medway Magistrates’ Court after assaulting a member of court staff, during a remand hearing on Saturday 12 February 2022.
Violence and threats
Reader had initially been arrested on 10 February and was at the court facing multiple charges, following allegations of repeated violence and threats towards a woman and her family.
These offences took place between December 2021 and January 2022, during which time he threw bricks through windows, slashed car tyres and made repeated threats to harm and kill them.
In one incident he punched two of the female victims, as well as a witness who tried to intervene.
During the court hearing Reader was refused bail and about to be taken back to his cell, when he suddenly pushed over a detention officer and stole keys to the security doors, enabling him to escape the court building.
The 26-year-old managed to evade police for two days, before he was located at an address in Stockton-on-Tees and arrested for escaping lawful custody.
On Tuesday 26 July, Reader appeared before Maidstone Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to charges of stalking involving fear of violence and escaping from lawful custody.
He also admitted three counts of criminal damage, three counts of assault, and a charge of assault by beating of an emergency worker.
Reader, previously of Nursey Grove, Gravesend, was sentenced to three years and six months’ imprisonment and also made subject of restraining orders against two women.
Distress and anxiety
Leading the investigation was PC Daryl Johnson from the Proactive Vulnerability Team who said: ‘Reader subjected his victims to repeated and sustained abuse and threats. He made countless phone calls and unwanted texts and the harassment was relentless.
‘His actions have caused a huge amount of distress, fear and anxiety and have had a deep and lasting impact.
‘Thankfully, justice has now caught up with him and I at least hope that this sentence will give those affected by his appalling behaviour some peace of mind.’