A man who stalked a woman has been jailed for two years after he became obsessed with her.
Andrew Costa-Freeman, 24, from Newham was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Thursday, 8 August to a total of two years’ imprisonment. He admitted stalking involving serious alarm or distress, and breaching a restraining order.
Costa-Freeman met his victim through mutual friends in 2015. They then exchanged messages through WhatsApp and initially got on well, but when he said he had feelings for her, she asked him to stop contacting her, he did not stop.
The victim contacted police and he was issued with a first instance harassment warning in March 2019. Costa-Freeman then contacted the victim and stated that he would keep sending messages despite the warning. He was arrested and charged with stalking involving fear of violence.
Over five days in May 2019 using Facebook Messenger again, he set up different user accounts to evade attempts by the victim to block him. He sent over 500 messages via Facebook to his stalking victim.
On Thursday, 30 May, Freeman was again arrested at his home address. He first appeared at East London Magistrates’ Court on Friday, 31 May, pleading guilty.
Detective Inspector Lee Barnard, the Met’s STAC lead, said: “Costa-Freeman’s behaviour was indicative of a stalker seeking intimacy, blindly pursuing a relationship and being spurred on rather than deterred by the rejections.
“This case is another example of how devastating an impact stalking has on the lives of those targeted. It is an unwarranted intrusion, and victims are left to feel vulnerable, distressed and threatened.
“Victims of these offences sometimes feel that they have no control of the situation, and often don’t know where to turn and when to seek help. The Met takes all stalking allegations very seriously, and the sooner we know, the sooner we can act and deal with the perpetrator, and provide the necessary support to those affected.”
If you think you are being stalked, or you know someone who is, contact police on 101 or 999 if you are in immediate danger. You can also visit your local police station. Alternatively, you can report online
You can also call the National Stalking Helpline and its attached advocacy service (run by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust) on 0808 802 0300, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Image Credit and Source: news.met.police.uk