Gardening ex guilty of stalking

COURT: Court Case
COURT: Court Case

A man who did his ex-girlfriend’s gardening after being warned off by police has been convicted of stalking her.

Michael Coleman, 43, cut the grass and filled 10 bags with garden waste at his former girlfriend’s house – despite being told by police to stop harassing her.

Kirklees magistrates heard on Tuesday Coleman had been in a relationship 23 years ago with the victim and the pair met by chance in a supermarket earlier this year.

Prosecutor Simon Broad said they went on a few dates before the victim, from Dewsbury, broke it off.

He said she ignored some text messages from Coleman, of Strawberry Square, Heckmondwike, but eventually texted back saying she wanted no more contact.

On June 29 the complainant was travelling from her stables in Spen with her friend when she saw Coleman nearby.

The court heard she had not told him where her horses were kept.

She reported him to the police for harassment – and then saw him outside her house, where he said: “I have found where you keep your horses and where you live. I’m quite resourceful you know.”

She spoke to a passing police community support officer and he left.

Two days later a package with a letter and self help book from Coleman was posted through her door.

The following day a harassment order was made against him – yet the complainant went home the next day to find her lawn had been cut and gardening had been done.

Two days later, on July 5, she woke up at about 7.35am to find him gardening outside. She phoned police and he was arrested.

He pleaded not guilty to stalking but was convicted after a trial at Kirklees Magistrates Court.

The victim said the harassment had left her frightened, paranoid and jumpy.

She said she thought he was obsessed, and had changed her phone number. She was also considering moving her horses.

Mitigating, Roger Clapham said Coleman had been near the stables by chance after getting off a bus for fresh air, then seeing the victim driving past.

He said he had arranged to do her gardening when she phoned him to apologise for reporting him to the police for harassment.

He said Coleman had drug issues in the past and sometimes relapsed under stress.

He said: “He has found himself in a very difficult situation.

“He feels he has been misunderstood.

“He has tried his best to help, which is why he delivered the self help book.

“He thought it was all going to be wonderful – she had different ideas.”

He was given a six month community order and a 26 week electronic curfew and made subject of an indefinite restraining order.

He was also ordered to pay £400 costs and £60 victim surcharge.