Jilted Ringwood man Thomas Lewis, who stalked former partner, given a suspended jail term at Southampton Crown Court
A jilted Ringwood man stalked his former partner and stuck extracts of their text messages to her front door, a court heard.
Thomas Lewis (31), of Manor Road, left his victim “fearful and anxious” after he repeatedly turned up at her home and bombarded her with emails, social media messages and calls from withheld numbers.
Prosecutor Laura Duff told Southampton Crown Court the victim, who was in an open relationship with her partner, had known Lewis for around 10 years before being invited to her family home in 2019 when he was in need of somewhere to stay.
They began a relationship, but in 2022 – after she decided to end it – Lewis emailed her, sent voice notes and called her, as well as visiting her home over a period of two months.
During this time he posted notes under her door as well as sticking extracts of their text message conversations to her front door.
In interview, he denied the offences and later told officers he was “being stitched up”.
He added the victim was “trying to destroy his life” after he made allegations to police about her.
A victim impact statement read to the court on the victim’s behalf said she had been left feeling “trapped” in her home and at times had to play music loudly to prevent her children from hearing Lewis shouting outside.
She had occasionally barricaded her door to prevent him from putting items through her letterbox, the court heard, and stopped socialising for fear of running into him.
The statement continued: “I feel anxious about what he is going to do and fearful when I think I may see him.
“I am paranoid about all the false accusations that could be made up by Tom.
“I get nervous if someone comes to my door unexpectedly or I hear a car outside my house.
“I am constantly checking number plates and faces to check it isn’t him.”
His actions had left her considering moving house and her children to another school.
Lewis pleaded guilty to one count of staking.
Defending, Keeley Harvey told the court: “The to-ings and fro-ings have done neither of them any good – it needs both parties to settle down in this and get on with their lives.”
She said the former taxi driver, who lost his job as a result of the proceedings, planned to obtain work as a delivery driver.
He had no previous convictions, she added.
Sentencing Lewis to 12 weeks’ jail, suspended for 18 months, judge Brian Forster KC said: “I understand when relationships end it can be difficult but a person is allowed to end a relationship.
“You did everything in your power to make the complainant’s life difficult, using every form of contact – email, telephone and even going to her home to put posters outside her house.
“The complainant’s life has been affected, her family and friends affected, and you brought all that about.
“On a positive note, the probation report indicates you now realise your behaviour was unacceptable.”
He also imposed a five-year restraining order which bans Lewis from contacting the victim or going within 150 yards of her home.
He must also pay court charges of £154.