Call us: Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm, Sat - Sun 9am - 5pm
Call local rate 0330 056 3171
Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm | Sat - Sun 9am - 5pm
Call local rate 0330 056 3171
Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm | Sat - Sun 9am - 5pm

Divorcing husband fined for ‘harassing’ wife

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.”

She added:

“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.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

Contact us

As the UK's largest family law firm we understand that every case is personal.


  1. Mr T says:

    I’ve had exactly the same. Fine, tagged for four weeks and a 3-year restraining order for sending an apology text and pleading to co-parent for our daughter.

    This is not harassment, this is also not justice it’s feminist insanity.

    • Phil says:

      Mr T, it’s disgraceful, your tagged for trying to see your daughter, the mother should be prosecuted for abuse of a child and of you, by preventing your child from having a relationship with both parents.

  2. Jo Archer says:

    Those text messages seem innocent enough, but there is clearly more going on.

  3. Jo Archer says:

    Often each incident appears trivial to others, in isolation. But the pattern may only ever be apparent to the individual on the receiving end of it. Controling and coercive individuals are notoriously charming to everyone else, butter wouldn’t melt, but they know exactly what they are doing.
    (*Comment moderated)

    • Mr T says:

      …and as usual here is the false narrative that “all women are perfect” – a biased feminist opinion with zero empathy for this man. This is the harsh reality of society. Erin Pizzey wrote about The Illustrated Empathy Gap.

      Controlling and coercive behaviour ISN’T gendered.

      Western women today are mostly entitled, narcissistic disordered children and you’re not helping their narrative.

      Stop believing all men are monsters.

      Considering the current laws she’s already got the house she’s probably already on the phone to the CMS for her legalised extortion on top of moving in the new bloke with the kids, if any, no doubt. I have no sympathy for her at all. Western women are disgustingly remorseless nowadays jumping from one man to another and are mostly hypergamy.

      It’s high time women realised what they’re like instead of projecting their behaviour onto the tired narrative of men being controlling when it’s common knowledge women are proven MORE controlling.

      Welcome to the real world – where men are men and women are behaving like children discarding their responsibility to society via their delusions of grandeur aka entitlement.
      (*Comment moderated)

    • Stitchedup says:

      “Controling and coercive individuals are notoriously charming to everyone else, butter wouldn’t melt, but they know exactly what they are doing.” ….. Honestly Joe, men simply cannot win!!! So to prove they’re not controlling and coercive a man should behave like a complete arsehole in public?? This is the same old bs tripe that feminists have been spouting for decades now.

  4. Yvie says:

    If there are children involved divorced parents whether they wish to be involved with each other or not should make a concerted effort to communicate with each other regarding their children, shared parenting, school and doctors information etc, should be up for discussion, if only by text.. If is far better for the children if the parents keep up some form of communication with each other.. The welfare and well-being of the children should be first and foremost. Personal distress at receiving a text from and ex husband/wife should take secondary precedence.

    • Mr T says:

      I couldn’t agree more Yvie. However, some people (mostly disordered women) are simply unable to for the sake of their children and sadly some think they completely own the children so much so they alienate them.

      • Yvie says:

        My son has been alienated from his two children Mr T. The first at 15 nearly three years ago. The second just after Christmas at the age of 13. It is a horrible situation. My son had a shared residence of his children and they had always seemed so happy. However, I think my ex dil realised that when the children got to around the age of 14 the court order was essentially useless. She then went to work and the boys are now alienated.

        • Mr T says:

          Sounds like textbook alienation.

          All public services need to be aware and have the training to recognise this phenomenon.

          I’m fed up of telling all these public services about narcissists, controlling & coercive behaviours, parental alienation (aka child abuse).

          The police need to step up and start enforcing the serious crime act section 66 ill-treatment of a child

  5. Spike Robinson says:

    This is an excellent example of the ridiculous exercise of a legal right that has never existed before, arose out of nowhere, and was entirely predicated on the idea of defending celebrities from deranged stalkers. For years we were terrorised (and titillated of course) by these stories in the papers, with cries that ‘something must be done’, and so, Dangerous Dogs Act style, a law was passed. No sooner is the law on the books than, far from protecting celebrities from deranged strangers, it confers on ex partners a legal right to punish their ex partners for engaging in reasonable conversation. Rarely have the unintended consequences of ill thought out legislation been made more clear. No one would argue that this was the intent of the law, much less that this was the basis on which public consent for the law was obtained. And yet we know that once on the books, a law being revoked by Parliament, rather than extended, is as likely as the proverbial turkeys voting for Christmas.

  6. Stitchedup says:

    “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.”

    These laws are not meant be used to ensure a woman has her “wishes” respected or “likes” met. They’re meant only to be used where there are serious concerns for safety. This is abuse of the man’s human rights. We hear much from the family courts about encouraging partners to talk and communicate during relationship breakdown, yet as soon as the woman is told something she doesn’t want to hear they slap a gagging order on the man… It’s ludicrous!!!
    (*Comment moderated)

  7. BillyO says:

    Another example of reasons not to engage with the courts or lawyers.
    Engage and enjoy the merry-go-round at your expense.

Leave a comment

Help & advice categories


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up for advice on divorce and relationships from our lawyers, divorce coaches and relationship experts.

What type of information are you looking for?

Privacy Policy