A Thurgoona man involved in a child custody dispute sent an email that so frightened a solicitor representing his ex-wife that she fled her home with her own children.
The solicitor had "witnessed first-hand both in and outside of court precincts how violent and unpredictable he could be".
The man, who cannot be named, has been sentenced in Albury Local Court to nine months' jail over the email he sent to the lawyer in the early hours of May 2, 2018.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"With his criminal history and to do something as terrifying as it would have been for the victim, I have to say the threshold for jail has been crossed," magistrate Richard Funston said.
"It is that serious."
Mr Funston said the jail term, to be served in the community by way of an intensive corrections order, would have been longer had the accused committed a further offence in the two years' since.
"This kind of offending, this is jail-type offending," he said.
The unemployed 43-year-old, a sole carer - with his elderly mother's assistance - of one of his two children, pleaded guilty to a single charge of using a carriage service to menace, harass or offend.
The court was told the victim, now aged 48, ran a legal firm in the Southern Highlands and from 2010 represented the accused's former wife in Family Court proceedings.
That began after the accused took one of the children, who he refused to return until 2011.
"During the Family Court proceedings," police said, "the accused made numerous threats towards the victim, the independent children's lawyer, magistrates and other judicial officers."
This ultimately resulted in the victim being granted a five-year apprehended personal violence order to protect her from the accused.
In 2013, the ex-wife contacted the victim to let her know the man "was to be released" from jail "and that she intended to take him back, stating if he she didn't none of them would be safe in that the accused would kill them all," police said.
The victim, who was at home with the youngest of her three children, checked her work email that May day about 8am to see a message with the subject line of "your a liar and a theif (sic)" and comments including "it is only possible when she had a filthy lying dog like u in their corner".
She was "terrified" the accused was near her home or office and felt "intimidated" and "offended".