Landmark stalking charge secured against alleged harasser

Police have charged a man with breaching a Stalking Prevention Order after it’s alleged he set up fake social media profiles to harass his ex-partner online.

The man, from Stourbridge, is accused of contacting the woman on Instagram with messages of a sexual nature.

The 25-year-old was banned from contacting her – and told to stay at least 100m away from her home and work – under the terms of an interim Stalking Prevention Order secured last month. It was a landmark case; the first officers have obtained since new legislation came into force earlier this year.

The man has been charged with breaching the SPO and was due to appear at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court yesterday. It bans the 38-year-old, who is being investigated over domestic abuse allegations – from contacting the woman and also bans him from large parts of Erdington. He’s already remanded in prison for breaching his bail conditions but will be bound by the SPO upon his release on 4 June. Inspector Cate Webb-Jones, said:

“SPOs allow us to block alleged perpetrators from contacting people or approaching their accusers, and stipulate they engage in addiction or mental health programmes, while a criminal investigation is carried out.

“Stalking cases are often complex and involve an extensive analysis of digital evidence; they can take a long time to review and bring charges. But SPOs put immediate restrictions on a suspect’s behaviour while that investigation is carried out.

"They provide extra protection for victims at an early stage. We will do all we can to safeguard vulnerable victims and the new SPOs give us additional safeguarding powers.” 

A breach of an order is a criminal offence punishable by either a fine or a prison sentence of up to five years.

Anyone who is concerned about stalking is urged to visit the West Midlands Police website for advice and support on what to do.

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