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Balaclava-clad killer armed with shears lurked outside ex's home late at night

A killer lurked outside his estranged ex-girlfriend's house late at night wearing a balaclava and armed with a pair of garden shears.

Dean Eastham was previously convicted of manslaughter after the then teenager accidentally shot his best friend dead when the pair were "messing around" with a handgun in his bedroom. Now aged 29, he has been hauled back before the courts after subjecting his former partner to a troubling campaign of harassment over a period of more than six months.

Liverpool Crown Court heard this afternoon, Thursday, that he and Joanne Cartwright had been in a relationship for nine years and have a three-year-old daughter together. But Sarah Griffin, prosecuting, described how she ended their romance in October 2021 after being told Eastham had been cheating on her with another woman who he had got pregnant.

READ MORE: Thug broke wife's back in vicious assault then refused to take her to hospital

But the plasterer was "unable to accept the end", and at around 6.45am on October 27 he attended her Huyton home with his mum - who stood at the front door shouting upstairs. Ms Cartwright went downstairs to speak to her through a window, but when she opened it her ex appeared from the side of the address.

Eastham, of Beaconsfield in Prescot, struggled with her to keep the window open as she tried to shut while calling her a "s***" and a "s***". Their then two-year-old child began crying upstairs, saying: "I'm scared."

While she went to check on the girl, her mother Lydia Cartwright remained by the open window. But Eastham said "f*** this" and forcibly climbed in, damaging the window as he did so.

He ran up to the bedroom where his former partner was on the phone to the police shouting for help, which caused him to flee. Afterwards, the defendant began "constantly contacting" her.

This included a threat to turn up at her grandma's home, claiming he had a pornographic film of Ms Cartwright and a friend and accusing her of cheating on him with other men. On November 6, she contacted Merseyside Police again after receiving persistent phone calls over a period of nearly 24 hours.

At 3pm that day, she received a call from her mum telling her Eastham had gone to her house and told her he had stashed a quantity of drugs in the garden. Around half an hour later, he attended one of her friend's homes.

Then, while she was at her grandma's shortly after 4.15pm, the stalker called her and said "I'll be at your nans in a couple of minutes". Eastham was arrested in relation to his behaviour on November 14, when he was found in possession of a small quantity of ketamine.

He was released on bail on the condition not to contact Ms Cartwright. But he carried on calling her from withheld numbers, continuing to accuse her of sleeping with other men.

On November 23, Eastham called her and said if she did not allow him contact with their child he would come to her house - despite having seen the youngster the previous day. He told her "watch what happens".

Ms Cartwright reported he continued to turn up "day and night" and would be found standing in her garden looking through the windows "10 or more times a day". Eastham followed her to the child's nursery and attended friend's homes while she was there.

At around 9pm on November 24, he was sat on a chair in the front garden while the girl was inside eating. The dad called Ms Cartwright from a withheld number and asked if she was "enjoying her waffles" before scarpering in a taxi.

Then, at 2.30am the following day, she was woken by a noise in her garden. The complainant looked outside to see Eastham sat on her gate looking up at the window.

He jumped down into the garden and left, but had returned by 5.45am. On this occasion, he shouted to her neighbour: "Have you got cameras on your house, because she's been noncing the baby out."

When police attended, Eastham told them "I've come to protect my daughter". Then, in early December, he went to her home in a taxi, entered her garden and began shouting that she was a "s***", a "s***" and a "brass".

He continued to visit her house and shout abuse, including calling her a "s***" and a "prostitute". One incident saw him claim she was "selling herself on the internet for £15" and post eight doctored pornographic images through her letterbox, saying they were of her.

Shortly before 10.30pm on December 8, Ms Cartwright was putting her daughter to bed when she heard her bins move outside. She looked out of the window to see Eastham dressed in black clothing and a balaclava while holding a set of shears.

He raised the tool towards the window and said "you're lucky my kid lives here", before running away. At roughly 5.15pm on December 23, he visited again with his new girlfriend saying he wanted a Pandora bracelet which he had given her seven years previously.

Eastham assaulted Ms Cartwright during an ensuing struggle, breaking the bangle in the process. He was arrested for a second time in a car in Kirkby on January 6 this year, but was again bailed. The calls from a private number persisted despite this. When she answered, Eastham accused her of "having sex with everyone and anyone".

She was left "feeling as though he was watching her". He also made threats to "beat up her 85-year-old nan".

On March 2, police attended her home after Eastham made a hoax call falsely claiming there had been a domestic incident. Ms Cartwright's mum answered the door as she was asleep, having received 35 calls from him in the previous 24 hours.

Four days later, she answered a call from a withheld number. Eastham was on the other end, and told her: "I'll be in your back garden."

Ms Cartwright ended the call, but he rang back asking to see baby. When she refused, he called her a "s***" - with the attempts to call continuing when she put the phone down again.

In total, Eastham made 10 hoax 999 calls sending emergency services to her address between January and March. He was arrested for a third time on June 4 in a vehicle on Edge Lane.

Ms Cartwright was left unable to sleep or eat properly as a result of her ordeal, causing her to lose nearly two stone in weight. John Rowan, defending, told the court: "It is a bad end to a long relationship.

"He accepts he should have been more mature about the end of the relationship. There is a period of time now to allow the defendant to cool off and consider how he reacted to this.

"The relationship was almost a decade long, and it appears that relationship was very good for almost that entire period. Unfortunately, when things ended Mr Eastham behaved in an entirely inappropriate way - he knows he should be ashamed of himself."

Eastham admitted stalking, a public communications offence, two counts of criminal damage and possession of ketamine. Appearing in court via video link to HMP Altcourse today, he was jailed for two years.

Sentencing, Judge Stuart Driver KC said: "You intended to maximise her distress over a long period. She suffered very serious distress."

Eastham was also handed a restraining order preventing him from contacting Ms Cartwright or her mum and not to enter her street indefinitely. He must also pay a victim surcharge, with forfeiture and destruction of the drugs ordered.

His criminal record extends to five previous convictions for 10 offences. This included being locked up for five years in 2010 aged 16 after killing 17-year-old Louis O'Brien.

The pals had acquired the firearm for protection after being "beaten up down the shops". The two friends and a third youth were smoking cannabis in Eastham's room at his home on Hathersage Road in Huyton when Mr O'Brien was shot in the heart - with the bullet later found lodged in the windowsill.

The teen fled the scene, disposed of his clothes and ditched the gun in an alleyway and remained on the run for five days before handing himself in to police. Eastham subsequently confessed he and Mr O’Brien had been "pointing it at each other and stuff, saying ‘give us ya money’, joking like".

He claimed the victim had grabbed the barrel of the gun and it had gone off accidentally, but a judge found there was "no forensic evidence to support that version of events". Eastham, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter, was released from this sentence midway through 2012.

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