Stalker is spared from jail after making victim’s life hell

Derby Crown Court.
Derby Crown Court.

A stalker who plagued a former neighbour and made her life hell with Facebook messages and phone calls has been spared from a jail sentence.

Derby Crown Court heard on Tuesday, April 25, how Cory Bryan, 22, of Limes Avenue, Alfreton, left his victim so concerned she would not go outside and at one stage she was forced to stay at her sister’s home.

Prosecuting barrister Rebecca Coleman said: “The defendant caused huge distress with unwanted contact. There were messages via Facebook and indirect contact via friends and family and physical activity with banging and tapping on walls of adjoining houses.

“A lot of messages were sent by fake Facebook accounts when other accounts were blocked.”

The defendant was not even deterred by a police caution, according to Ms Coleman, or by warnings from landlords.

Ms Coleman added: “His behaviour became obsessive and relentless.”

The defendant became wrongly obsessed that the complainant was having a relationship with one of the police officers involved in cautioning him, according to Ms Coleman.

The court heard how the complainant, of Stonebroom, felt her life was being monitored and on one occasion she returned from a night out and had received 25 missed calls and further calls continued.

At other times, according to Ms Coleman, there was banging and tapping on walls that forced the complainant to stay with her sister.

Ms Coleman added that during one evening there were 200 phone calls and they only stopped after the complainant unplugged her phone.

Following Bryan’s arrest, he admitted making calls and admitted being obsessed with finding out what she was doing.

The complainant stated that her home, where she lives with her 78-year-old mother, was no longer a place where she could relax and she felt she was being watched and could not go out and when she received messages she felt sick.

Bryan pleaded guilty to stalking between December, last year, and February, this year.

Defence barrister Gurdial Singh said: “It is not a normal case of harassment or stalking with malice. It’s a case where someone has quite clearly got a mental illness.”

Mr Singh added that, while paranoid, Bryan had become fixated but he realises what it must have been like for the complainant.

He added there was no direct contact or threats of violence and Bryan was getting help for his mental health difficulties.

Recorder Helen Malcolm QC, who recognised Bryan’s behaviour must have been “hell” for the complainant, told him: “It’s difficult to imagine the misery you caused to your neighbour and her 78-year-old mother.

“Neither her home or her garden or her electronic environment were places of safety.”

She added: “You targeted her friends and family electronically as well and this harassment was as bad as a violent assault.”

However, Recorder Malcolm QC stepped back from jailing Bryan and sentenced him to eight months of custody suspended for two years with a 20 day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.

She also imposed a restraining order banning Bryan from the complainant’s road and banning from having any contact with her.