A STALKER who set up recording equipment in the Thornhill bedroom of his ex-girlfriend has been spared jail.
Mark Bowers, 31, was handed a 12-week suspended sentence when he appeared at Kirklees Magistrates’ Court charged with pursuing a course of conduct amounting to stalking.
The court heard how Bowers drove past the home of Charlene Medlock on a daily basis and used MP3 players left in her home to record her conversations after the couple’s 13-year relationship ended. He also set up numerous Facebook accounts in an attempt to communicate with Miss Medlock.
Their relationship ended in May last year.
Bower, who shares a daughter with Miss Medlock, moved into his mother’s home on Partridge Crescent, Thornhill, when they split. However he then began stalking the mother of his child, who lived on the same street as his mother, after he became suspicious that she was having an affair.
Bowers said that he suspected she had been cheating and so he set up the recording equipment in the hope she would declare her love for him to others.
Emma Covington, prosecuting, said: “The defendant drove past her house on an almost daily basis. He set up false Facebook accounts as a means of trying to contact her and send her messages. Then she found an MP3 player in the property that had been recording her in the bedroom.”
Robert Dawson, mitigating, said that his client had shown remorse for his actions.
“He’s somebody who has had difficulty coming to terms with the ending of a long relationship. His conduct is inappropriate and what’s worrying is the leaving of recording devices in the house.
“He collected them later and did this three times to listen to them. The motivation behind that was he wanted to hear that she still had feelings for him. It was a serious intrusion of privacy and he apologises through the court to the victim.”
Bowers pleaded guilty to the charge.
District Judge James Hatton told the court that convictions for stalking are so rare, there are no proper guidelines in place when it comes to sentencing.
He told Bowers: “It’s an incredibly serious offence and one that causes this court a great deal of concern. Your behaviour displayed towards the victim is worrying to say the least.
“There are sinister undertones to anybody who thinks it is appropriate behaviour to put recording devices in their ex-partner’s address to glean personal information from them, somehow hoping that she will reveal that she still has feelings for you.
“Your relationship is at an end and you have to move on from that – your behaviour dealing with the breakdown is criminal and sinister.”
The judge sentenced Bowers to 12 weeks in prison suspended for a year.
He must complete 80 hours of unpaid work and was banned from contacting Miss Medlock for five years.