A ROYAL marine from Pontypool was handed a suspended jail sentence for harassing the wife of his best friend who was killed in Afghanistan.

Exeter Magistrates’ Court heard Corporal Ben Wilmott, 26, of High Street, Abersychan, began a relationship with the widow of Cpl Stephen Curley, 26, shortly after he was killed by a roadside bomb in Helmand Province in May 2010.

The court heard things turned sour when she started a relationship with another Royal Marine, Matthew Cotterill.

All three served together in Afghanistan.

Defending, James Rickard said Wilmott and Kirianne Curley, 28, had an “intense love affair” and found solace in each other following their mutual loss.

However, this ended last month after Wilmott found out Mrs Curley was seeing Mr Cotterill, and began directing offensive and threatening text messages, e-mails and phone calls at them.

He admitted harassing Mrs Curley and Mr Cotterill without violence.

Mr Cotterill served with Wilmott and Cpl Curley and, in police interview, called Mrs Curley “a vicious little cow”, saying he was “stabbed in the back”.

Mr Rickard said the servicemen had a bond people outside the military wouldn’t understand, dubbing them the Three Musketeers.

He said: “These were three men who were not thrown together solely by regimental responsibilities for one another or Naval pride, but attached to one another in the way of war.”

Wilmott served on three tours of Afghanistan and his solicitor said these became “progressively worse with people dying around him”.

He said when Mrs Curley began seeing Mr Cotterill, Wilmott was left “hurt, jealous and felt abandoned”.

He was sentenced to six weeks in jail, suspended for two years, and handed a five-year restraining order, keeping him away from the complainants.

Mr Rickard said Wilmott wants nothing to do with them again, saying Mrs Curley was “the love of his life” and he made a “stupid, foolish mistake” by sending the messages. Wilmott was discharged from the Royal Marines last month at his own request.