10:41 Thursday 19 December 2013

Top cop says force take stalking 'very seriously'

Written byJENNY MOODY

STAFFORDSHIRE Police said it does not take stalking lightly – days after a jilted lover was jailed for bombarding his former partner with letters, gifts, messages and phone calls after she ended their relationship.

The force’s chief superintendent Juliet Prince said officers take incidents of stalking very seriously with new legislation helping officers to battle the problem as some seemingly innocent actions can have devastating effects on the victims.

She made the announcement less than a week after Shaun Gorman was jailed for six weeks after admitting harassment of Gina Butler in Burton between August 1 and October 15.

Chief Sup Prince said: “It can have a personal impact on the victims because some of the activities can seem quite innocent in their own right, but it’s that constant worry about what’s going to happen next.

“Is it going to escalate and is it going to end in physical violence?

“Historically it has sometimes been difficult to prosecute. Some of these activities could seem innocent.

“Just being in the same street as someone can be difficult to prove but we have new legislation to help with this.

“Facebook has opened up a new area for harassment. People can become obsessed with people they don’t know or have never met.

“It’s a problem that’s not going to go away.”

Gorman was in a relationship with Ms Butler since 2012 after he left his partner of 25 years to be with her but it broke down that Christmas before they continued to see each other on an on-off basis. It ended again in July 2013.

Helen Newport, prosecuting, told Burton Magistrates’ Court the 43-year-old continued to call his victim and the police issued him with an order to stop pestering her.

But, he continued to call her, drove past her house, left voicemail messages and unwanted gifts.

He was also seen regularly driving past her house, following her around shops and even following her friends around.

As well as jailing Gorman, of Ashbourne Road, Uttoxeter, magistrates issued him with a restraining order not to contact Ms Butler on his release during a recent hearing.

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