Barrack Heights woman accused of harassing i98 presenter Justin Coombes-Pearce

Illawarra radio presenter Justin Coombes-Pearce

Illawarra radio presenter Justin Coombes-Pearce

A Barrack Heights woman accused of sending harassing social media messages to an Illawarra radio presenter has attempted to dismiss the interactions as “a misunderstanding”.

Tara Turnball, 35, fronted Wollongong Local Court on Thursday for a mention of an interim apprehended violence order naming i98 afternoons presenter Justin Coombes-Pearce as the protected person and Turnball the defendant.

Accompanying the AVO matter is a criminal charge against Turnball of using a carriage service to harass.

Police will allege Turnball used Facebook Messenger and iMessage to send Mr Coombes-Pearce messages “that a reasonable person would regard as being menacing, harassing or offensive”.

The nature of the relationship between the pair was not revealed in open court however it is understood to be, or at some stage was, a domestic one.

Choosing to represent herself in court, Turnball attempted to enter a plea of not guilty to the harassment charge, claiming the matter was simply “a misunderstanding” between the pair.

However Magistrate Chris McRobert did not accept the plea after reading a text message Turnball allegedly sent to Mr Coombes-Pearce, which read “I mean it, I will destroy your life like you destroyed mine”.

“You need to get some proper legal advice before you enter any plea,” Magistrate McRobert said.

Meantime, Turnball told the court she worked in child protection services and could not continue in her job if an AVO was made against her.

She confirmed she was not presently working due to the court proceedings.

“I can’t work in my chosen profession because of the ADVO,” she said.

Magistrate McRobert adjourned the case for two weeks to allow Turnball to see Legal Aid for advice on how she should proceed.

The decision was not opposed by police.

Mr Coombes-Pearce was not required to be at court and did not attend for the proceedings.