An obsessive boyfriend has been jailed after posting a stream of unwanted messages on social media in which he professed his love for her a former partner.
Iain Paul Gladstone was banned from contacting his ex or writing anything about her on social media in 2019 after being convicted of stalking.
But the 30-year-old used an Instagram account to publish a stream of messages and images relating to the woman and their relationship, including posting a picture of an old Valentine’s card the couple had shared.
Sending the Llanelli man to prison, a judge at Swansea Crown Court said he was concerned about the “obsessional” nature of the offending, and questioned whether the defendant was really ready to move on despite having a new partner.
Dean Pulling, prosecuting, said Gladstone was given a suspended prison sentence and made the subject of a restraining order in 2019 following a conviction for stalking a former partner. Not only did the order ban direct contact but also prohibited placing anything on social media that referred to the woman.
However he said it seemed the defendant “did not accept the relationship was over” and for much of he 2020 wrote a large number messages on Instagram about his former partner in which he said he still loved her, said it felt like his “heart was being ripped out”, and repeatedly asked her to contact him.
Then on July 27 Gladstone posted a picture of an old Valentine’s card the couple had shared.
The court heard the woman did not initially report the messages to police as she was disillusioned with the way her case had previously been dealt with. The woman did, however, tell her mother what was going on, and her mum contacted Gladstone and told him to stop what he was doing.
The prosecutor said Gladstone told the mother that he still loved her daughter, and asked her to tell her daughter that “I will always be here, not matter what”.
The court heard the messages continued despite the mother’s intervention, and then when the victim joined the dating site Tinder the defendant was on the site and “liked” her profile.
Eventually the victim reported the matter to the police, and when officers went to the Bynea house Gladstone shared with his grandfather they found in the defendant’s bedroom a long list of “musings” he had written about love, his ex, and their relationship.
The defendant was interviewed in Ammanford police station, and told officers it was in fact his former partner who was fixated with him.
Mr Pulling read an impact statement from the woman in which she said the constant and unwanted contact had had a “massive effect on my mental health”.
She said she just wanted the defendant to leave her alone so he could get on with her life.
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Gladstone, of Berwick Drive, Bynea, Llanelli, had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of breaching a restraining order when he appeared in the dock for sentencing. The court heard he has previous convictions for 20 offences including for sexual assault, harassment, and stalking.
Dyfed Thomas, for Gladstone, told the court the defendant accepts that the relationship is over, and knows the contact has to stop. He said his client has a new partner – who he met on Tinder – and if he were to keep his liberty had been offered employment as a ground worker with a Cross Hands-based civil engineering company.
Judge Geraint Walters told Gladstone his “obsessional behaviour” had caused his victim serious harm, and the real question for the court was whether the term of imprisonment that was due had to be served immediately or could be suspended.
He said: “Will you give up your obsession with her even though you are in a new relationship? That is what concerns me.”
Giving the defendant a one-third discount for his guilty pleas the judge sentenced him to 12 months in prison. Gladstone will serve up to half that period in custody before being released on licence under the UK government’s early release scheme to serve the remainder in the community.
The judge revoked the existing restraining order, and imposed a new one.