A Cheshire husband has been found guilty of harassing his estranged wife by contacting her directly rather than going through a solicitor.
The 45 year-old businessman, from Knutsford, moved out of the couple’s home in 2015 after a ten year marriage, and divorce proceedings followed. The couple had known each other since their school days, The Telegraph reports.
The separation was acrimonious and the wife told the husband, via her own solicitor, that she did not wish to communicate with him except via his. But the husband reportedly ignored this request, and sent her a succession of messages via email, SMS, Facebook and phone, all about routine matters in their ongoing divorce.
These messages included:
“Hi Zoe apologies for this I’ve just seen it and have made payments. Thanks Matthew”.
“Hello Zoe, your car has been insured with Esure – I will send it over on receipt. Thanks, Matthew.”
“Please can you take a picture of gas and electric meters and email them over? Thanks, Matthew”.
She objected bitterly to these, saying his many messages left her stressed, anxious and even terrorised.
In August, the Police warned the husband to stop attempting to contact her but he continued, the paper reports. At a recent hearing before Stockport Magistrates Court, she complained that he also seemed to be aware of her movements, telling them:
“It upsets me, causes me stress. I don’t sleep, I have nightmares about people coming to the house. Every time his name flashes up my heart races and I have flashbacks to all the times he has terrorised me. I’m still being terrorised and watched and pursued.”
“It’s so hard to put into words how I feel it’s been going on for three years. I don’t like receiving any contact it’s going against everything I’ve asked for. It’s not respecting my wishes.”
Her estranged claimed he had only been trying to save money as their drawn-out divorce continued. He told the magistrates:
“We are going to go well over £200,000 [in legal fees] because of ridiculous things that keep happening and I just can’t afford it. There’s no need to go to the solicitor to get a meter reading for gas or electric. Even with the car insurance it’s a ludicrous and silly thing to have to go through lawyers. It’s not affordable. It’s going to ruin us, it’s very upsetting and it’s costing a fortune.”
He admitted having some knowledge of his wife’s comings and goings but said this was because he had been advised to use a private investigator to establish that his wife was now living with a new partner.
He said he had been advised to use private investigators to prove that his wife’s new partner had moved in with her.
The magistrates convicted him of ‘harassment without violence’. He was fined £1,500, of which £100 would be paid in compensation to his wife.