Man (73) forced to move house by stone-throwing harassment campaign

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Stephen Harwood
Southampton Magistrates’ Court in London Road

A PENSIONER was forced to move house after a stone-throwing harassment campaign against him, a court heard.

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Stephen Harwood (34), of Evergreen Close, Marchwood, was convicted of harassing a 73-year-old man for more than a year, after a trial by magistrates.

On Monday, Harwood was back in court in Southampton to be sentenced for that plus two breaches of a restraining order.

The offences included lobbing stones and making comments at the victim, sometimes while he was out walking his dog, between August 2018 and September this year.

A previous conviction for harassing the man did not deter Harwood, who was handed a restraining order in March 2018 – which he breached five months later.

Sentencing on Monday, magistrates ordered Harwood to complete a 12-month community order with 80 hours unpaid work. A further restraining order was made to last until May 2021.

Speaking after the hearing, PC Adrian Woodhead said: “Harwood’s prolonged conduct over this period has caused a vulnerable victim considerable distress, to the point where he has had to move house.

“Harwood’s behaviour was completely unacceptable and I hope this sentence gives people confidence that we do take such offending seriously and will take action.

“We would urge anyone who is the victim of harassment or stalking to report it to us. We do take these crimes seriously and victims will be supported.”

Harwood had been in the magistrates’ court in March last year for throwing eggs at a vulnerable neighbour’s car during another harassment campaign, this time over eight months between June 2017 and February 2018.

He admitted one count of harassment without violence and another of criminal damage. He was handed a restraining order and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £250 compensation to the victim.

Victims of harassment can contact the National Stalking Helpline, run by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, which offers information and guidance. The helpline number is 0808 802 0300.

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