A MAN sent text messages to his mother-in-law and other members of his wife’s family so obscene the prosecutor refused to read them out in court.

Bournemouth Magistrates Court heard on Wednesday that 36-year-old Neil Cole, of Wimborne Road in Bournemouth, had sent a string of “disgusting” messages to mother-in-law Mandy James, her partner and daughter between August 24 and September 15 last year.

In an unusual step, prosecutor Alison Saunders did not read out the messages and instead directed the magistrates to read them from court documents.

“The content is so offensive I am not prepared to read it out in open court,” said Ms Saunders.

“This is an unfortunate set of circumstances which has had an impact on Miss James and several of her family members.”

The court heard the messages resulted in Ms James seeking counselling and her daughter feeling “physically sick”.

Unemployed Cole had pleaded guilty to five counts of sending obscene and offensive messages by public electronic communication at an earlier hearing.

In mitigation, solicitor Mark Proctor said Cole had pleaded guilty at the first possible opportunity.

He added: “These offences were committed at a time when he was using alcohol and controlled drugs.

“It is not an excuse, but an explanation.

“He was under the influence of these substances and they gave rise to sexual messages to his wife’s family.”

Mr Proctor added that his client now attends Alcoholics Anony-mous meetings and is clean of drink and drugs.

“Social services are happy for him to keep contact with his children.

“Following assessments they said he poses no threat to his children whatsoever,” said Mr Proctor.

“Alcohol was the main substance being abused but he has now stopped drinking and his wife continues to support him.”

Cole was handed an 11-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months, a 240-hour community order, issued with a restraining order preventing him from contacting his victims, and ordered to pay court costs and a victim surcharge totalling £165.