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First full Stalking Protection Order granted in Hertfordshire

16 Feb 2021
  • A Watford man has been given the county’s first full Stalking Protection Order after he obsessively stalked his wife

  • The five-year order is also the first of its kind in the country as it was obtained without support from the victim.

  • If the defendant breaches the terms of the order, he will be arrested.

A man from Watford has been given Hertfordshire’s first full Stalking Protection Order (SPO) after he obsessively stalked his wife.

The five-year order, granted at St Albans Magistrates’ Court on Monday 8 February, is also the first of its kind in the country as it was obtained without support from the victim. If the defendant breaches the terms of the SPO, he will be arrested.

“This is really powerful new legislation which gives protection to those who are being stalked obsessively,” said Detective Inspector Fay Tooley from the Domestic Abuse Investigation Safeguarding Unit (DAISU).

She added: “These kinds of predatory behaviours can escalate putting many victims’ lives at risk. An SPO goes a long way to protecting victims, whether or not they wish to support a police prosecution.”

The court heard that the 39-year-old man stalked his wife obsessively for two months, between September and October 2020.

“His behaviour quickly escalated,” explained PC Kate Mawer from DAISU, who supported the victim alongside the officer in the case, Detective Constable Adam Haines.

“As well as regularly following her to work, asking colleagues personal questions about her and waiting outside her address for hours watching her, he also called her more than 560 times over a two-month period.

“On one occasion, he followed her to the supermarket and threatened to kill her before spitting in her face. The stalking was relentless and even caused fear to her family by turning up at their homes.

“He sent her horrible voice notes and accused her of being unfaithful after she ended their relationship. He was fixated on her and she couldn’t breathe without fearing him being around the next corner.”

DI Tooley said: “The victim had her own reasons that prevented her from being able to fully support the prosecution, but that didn’t stop us from protecting her from this dangerous man. The victim said she is incredibly grateful for the support she has been given by DAISU, especially PC Mawer. She also said that she feels so relieved that we took her allegations seriously. She hopes to start a new life without looking over her shoulder and hopes it empowers other people in a similar situation to get the help they need.”

She added: “Sadly stalking is prevalent. The good news is that we have robust ways to deal with this unwanted and irrational behaviour. Our job is primarily to protect victims and their families from abuse and secondly, bring abusers before the courts to account for their actions.

“We work with a number of specialist agencies to support and protect victims so that they can get on with their lives whilst we arrest and charge the perpetrators. We applied for an SPO to safeguard the victim from further harm and prevent her husband from carrying out further harassment and stalking. If he breaches the conditions of the order, he will be arrested.”

The conditions of the order prohibit the defendant from:

  1. Following, approaching, seeking to approach or communicating by whatever means, directly or indirectly with the victim (this includes social media or using banking apps).
  2. Entering or coming within 100 meters of any address or location he knows or believes the victim to be or frequent; this includes her place of work.
  3. Making any video or engaging in any surveillance of the victim or other family member without their permission.
  4. Attending his children’s school without prior appointment.

He must also provide the police, upon request, with access to his social media accounts, mobile phones, computers and tablets, including passwords/codes/usernames in relation to those devices.

The first interim SPO in Hertfordshire was given to Robert Kemp, aged 37, from Hitchin, in October last year, alongside a two-month prison sentence. Officers have since applied for a full order and are awaiting Kemp’s next court date.

If you know anyone whose behaviour has changed and you are concerned about their relationship, you can access help and advice on the Safer Place website (opens in a new window), or call police on 101.

In an emergency, always call 999. If you need police but are in a situation where you are unable to speak on the phone, dial 999 followed by ‘55’, and your call will be transferred to the police.

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