A senior judge has expressed concern after a domestic abuser from Hereford who beat up his ex was able to call her three times from prison.

Judge James Burbidge QC raised concerns about how easily prisoners were able to access phones and that he understood some inmates were permitted to have phones in their cells.

He made the remarks as he sentenced Anthony Bird, who was able to contact his former partner while he was behind bars on December 3, 2020; again on December 7, 2020, and again on December 10, 2020, when he left two voicemails for her. All of these calls were in breach of a restraining order.

At the time, Bird, 38, of Lacey Way, Hereford, was serving a 26-month prison sentence at HMP Oakwood for actual bodily harm and common assault against the partner he later called. He had been sentenced in September 2020.

Danae Larham, prosecuting, said in the first phone call Bird said "hello" before his former partner recognised it was him and "terminated the call". A few days later he called her again from prison.

"She answered the call but again terminated when she realised who it was," said Miss Larham.

On the third call he left a voicemail message which said: "Hello, queen, just wanting to make sure you're okay. I will ring you about 1pm if you can answer? If not don't worry."

Bird also left a voicemail in which he said "Happy birthday, my queen'.

He was released from custody on July 13, 2020. The victim was at court to read out a statement, describing the impact of his behaviour upon her, and to see Bird sentenced.

Judge Burbidge said: "It's of concern to me. They have often got telephones in their cells these days."

He added: "Perhaps I need to raise that with the prison."

Judge Burbidge, who is honorary recorder of Worcester and was speaking at Worcester Crown Court, went on to describe Bird as "no respecter of the court" and cited a previous breach of a restraining order in relation to a different injured party, also a former partner.

He said, by contacting the victim, Bird had caused her "clear distress" but also noted that he had kept out of trouble for the last two years.

"He has a poor record and is no real respecter of women and no respecter of the people he professes to love. He treats them badly," said Judge Burbidge.

His defence advocate explained that Bird suffered from anxiety and depression but that he had "turned a corner".

Judge Burbidge imposed a 12-month community order to include 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

A restraining order remains in place and he must pay her £300 in compensation – £100 for each call.

Addressing the victim directly, Judge Burbidge said: "Thank you for coming to court. I wish you well in future."