A TREGYNON man who has spent three weeks in prison on remand for stalking a woman has been released on a suspended sentence.
Anthony John Shepherd, 63, appeared via video link from custody at Welshpool Magistrates Court on Tuesday, where he was charged with stalking the woman between March and May.
Shepherd, of Rosemary Drive, admitted the offence, which included sending cards and letters, contacting the woman’s friend, and accessing her email and Facebook accounts.
He also pleaded guilty to a further charge of sending a letter conveying false information, relating to two anonymous letters he sent to the woman’s employer.
Rhian Jones, prosecuting, said the incidents began in early March after the woman made an allegation against the defendant and he was bailed with a condition not to contact her.
In the weeks that followed he contacted the woman’s friend several times asking her to pass on messages.
The victim received email notifications that someone was repeatedly accessing her account and she suspected this to be Shepherd.
Next came an unsigned birthday card, reading, ‘I hope you are going to be happy in your future life’, and a further call to the friend asking her to contact the victim on his behalf.
Shepherd told police he was not aware that he was not allowed to send her a card. He was no longer on bail, but was told he still could not contact to the woman while the original investigation continued.
Despite this, a letter was delivered to the woman’s address, asking her to contact him.
This was followed by a ‘get well’ card.
Throughout the ordeal, the victim was left feeling depressed and struggled to concentrate, said Ms Jones.
She was then informed by her employer that two anonymous letters had been received alleging she had been “rude and abusive” to clients and was seen drinking.
“She was once again very upset.
“As a result of this, she could have lost her job or been suspended,” said Ms Jones.
Shepherd was arrested and his home was searched. Notes intended to be posted to the woman were found and her Facebook profile was open on his phone.
Again, he was released and told not to contact the woman, but again he flouted this and made contact on Facebook.
Ms Jones said: “She feels disgusted and intimidated.
“She has changed her address and phone number and her passwords.
“She fears for her safety and keeps a personal alarm on her.”
On May 24, Shepherd was interviewed again and admitted sending the letters.
He was remanded in custody ahead of his court appearance.
Geraint Jones, defending, said: “There was no threat in any of these letters or cards.
“He wished to express his love and affection to her.”
Shepherd was given a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, and a five-year restraining order was made not to contact the woman.
He must also complete 30 activity requirement days and pay £85 costs and a £30 surcharge.
See full story in the County Times