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40-year-old narrowly avoids jail after leaving ex-partner ‘absolutely petrified’ by stalking

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A 40-year-old who left his ex-partner “absolutely petrified” after a stalking episode has narrowly avoided jail time.Stephen Weeks, of Broad Street in Lynn, appeared at the town’s magistrates’ court on Thursday to be sentenced after previously pleading guilty to stalking without causing fear, alarm or distress.He had stalked a woman in town on February 17 having previously being involved in a relationship with her, with the victim making an application for a restraining order to be imposed.

Stephen Weeks was sentenced at Lynn Magistrates’ Court

Magistrates were provided with a pre-sentence report on Weeks by the probation service, but faced a jail term because he had outlined his unwillingness to comply with a proposed curfew and trail monitoring programme.Magistrates, having heard that Weeks had followed his victim, visited her home, made repeated phone calls and changed his sim card during his stalking, said the woman had been left “absolutely petrified”. They did hand him a 12-week custodial sentence, but suspended it for a period of 18 months.He will serve an 18-month community order, which will require him to complete up to 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days and an accredited programme lasting for up to 40 days.A three-year restraining order was also imposed, prohibiting Weeks from contacting the victim in any way except from through children’s services or the family court.He will also be prevented from visiting certain streets in Lynn, and is not to post about the victim on social media. On Thursday, he also pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis on a different date, and magistrates ordered for the drugs to be forfeited and destroyed.Weeks will pay a £154 victim surcharge and £105 in court costs. Mitigating, solicitor Matt Diss referenced Weeks’ “unequivocal guilty plea”, which he made on April 3.He said he was “a man struggling to come to terms with the end of a relationship” when he committed his offence. He said a number of the messages Weeks sent to the victim were regarding their child, as he “would like to stay in his child’s life”.“This is a man who is clearly driven to stay in his child’s life, and has perhaps executed that poorly,” Mr Diss said.He added that any prison sentence would have had an “enormous impact” on Weeks’ child, who he said was “collateral damage” in the case.

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