Stalker’s silent calling

Nottingham Magistrates' Court.
Nottingham Magistrates' Court.
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Bogus e-mail accounts were created by a Hucknall man as part of a stalking campaign against his “terrified” former girlfriend, a court heard.

Stephen Richards (49), of Ullswater Drive, also plagued her with 32 ‘silent’ phone-calls, despite receiving harassment warnings from the police.

Richards pleaded guilty at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court to a charge of stalking Beverley Hill, causing her serious alarm or distress, at her home on Quantock Close, Rise Park between 1st July and 2nd August.

David Miles (prosecuting) told the court Richards had been in a relationship with Miss Hill from November 2012 to September 2013. After it had ended, he called and texted her in an attempt to rekindle it, but when she contacted the police, Richards received two warnings and also a caution.

The stalking came to a head, the court heard, when Richards bombarded Miss Hill with e-mails. Two were sent from his own account, but the rest came from e-mail addresses purportedly belonging to mutual friends.

“Some said they had found his van, that he was missing and that friends were worried about him,” said Mr Miles. “But in fact, all the messages had been sent by Mr Richards himself. Miss Hill was petrified by what he might do next. She was terrified he would continue and start going to her house.

Finbarr Hennessy (defending) said Richards had now “accepted that the relationship is over”.

“He has never been in trouble before, but he has difficulties, both mentally and physically, and is taking a lot of medication. He is suffering from clinical depression and living at his parents’ home at the moment.”

Richards was sentenced to a 12-month community order and placed under an electronic curfew between 7pm and 7am for eight weeks. He was banned indefinitely from contacting Miss Hill, and ordered to pay court costs of £85, plus a victim surcharge of £60.