Stalking order bans stranger from contacting woman for three years
- Credit: Archant
A 39-year-old man has become the first person in Suffolk to receive a full Stalking Protection Order.
Carl Terry became the county's first recipient of a full Stalking Protection Order (SPO) following a court hearing before magistrates earlier this month.
Suffolk police applied for the order under the Stalking Protection Act 2019.
SPOs can only be granted when magistrates are satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that someone has carried out acts associated with stalking and that a court order is necessary to protect another person from risk.
Making the uncontested application on behalf of Suffolk Constabulary on June 11, Laura Austin told magistrates that Terry, of Norton Way, Framlingham, had carried out a number of acts associated with stalking against a female stranger.
The court heard how the woman had repeatedly seen the same man driving past and staring as she walked along the street with her children.
Ms Austin said that, in early April, the woman began noticing the same man walking a dog along the same route.
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Reading from the woman's statement, she told the court: "He would smile or wave as I passed, but wouldn't engage."
On April 13, a piece of paper with a handwritten phone number was posted through the letterbox of the woman's address.
When the woman sent a text to the number, asking if it belonged to a gas engineer she was expecting to hear from, the reply said: "No, it's the man you see walking the black dog."
Ms Austin said the woman later saw the same man walking past and staring up at a window of her property.
She said messages continued to come through, asking if the woman had a partner and suggesting: "I'm sure what he doesn't know won't hurt him."
When the woman declared she was not interested, the reply read: "I just want some fun. Give me a flash and a snog."
The woman then blocked the number on her phone and called the police, added Ms Austin, who told magistrates there had been 29 attempted calls, including 18 in one day.
Magistrates said they were satisfied it was both necessary and proportionate to impose a three-year SPO, prohibiting Terry from entering the road on which the woman lives, or attempting to contact anyone residing at her address.
Meanwhile, interim SPOs have been granted against three other men – Richard Weston, 32, of New River Bank, Littleport, near Ely; Callum Ross, 28, of Fleming Way, Withersfield, and Keith Askew, 68, of Reeds Way, Stowupland – ahead of contested hearings later in the year.
SPOs were introduced on January 20 last year – allowing police to apply for restrictions on the behaviour of perpetrators – excluding them from entering a particular area or from making contact with a victim.
Legislation also allowed police to apply to magistrates for interim SPOs to provide immediate protection while investigations are ongoing.
Breaching the civil orders could result in up to five years imprisonment.
In the 12 months after the introduction of SPOs, Suffolk police recorded 827 harassment offences and 157 stalking offences.
However, a freedom of information request revealed that, during the same period, the force did not make any SPO applications.