[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 May, 2003, 14:02 GMT 15:02 UK
Text message stalker jailed
David Cruz
David Cruz pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing
A man who stalked a woman using e-mails and text messages has been jailed for five months.

David Cruz, from Catford, south London, befriended Chloe Easton before bombarding her with anonymous messages which "effectively destroyed her life".

The court heard how Cruz, who is originally from America, had offered the 26-year-old a shoulder to cry on while she was going through a messy divorce.

But when Ms Easton made it clear she only wanted to be friends Cruz began a campaign of harassment against her.

The 50-year-old American football coach pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to three specimen counts of harassment between February and June last year.

You attacked this young lady in a demeaning and particularly cruel way seeking through a false hope of friendship to destroy her peace of mind
District Judge Robin McPhee

He was sentenced to five months in prison at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

Cruz was also ordered not to go within 100 metres of Ms Easton or her parents or to a series of sporting venues.

Later it emerged that Cruz had been investigated by police in Tennessee in 1998 over an almost identical stalking campaign.

District Judge Robin McPhee told Cruz: "You used every asset of modern media to attack your prey.

"You attacked this young lady in a demeaning and particularly cruel way seeking through a false hope of friendship to destroy her peace of mind.

"You used foul tactics, sexually explicit e-mails and material."

'Threatening phone calls'

During Cruz's harassment of Ms Easton he posted her personal details on a website which "rates" prostitutes and their services and she was plagued by calls.

He also sent pornographic e-mails, text messages and an anonymous e-mail to her boss, claiming she had offered sex.

Tom MacDonald, prosecuting, said that after Ms Easton rejected Cruz's advances she "began to receive a barrage of threatening and abusive phone calls" which were "graphically obscene".

Her father was also targeted by Cruz who sent him pornographic films.

Mr MacDonald told the court Ms Easton was "petrified to the point of physical illness".

Similar offences

"Mr Cruz has effected a pretty terrible betrayal and effectively destroyed her life."

Outside court, Detective Sergeant David Clubley, of the Islington Community Safety Unit, said: "It is a super result for the victim. I have telephoned her, she was very relieved and she's now hoping that this is an end to it.

"Her main concern was that she was not going to be believed. She was very very traumatised, it took her to the brink. At one stage she spoke to the Samaritans, it was a living hell for seven months."

Police have revealed Cruz was investigated in Tennessee in the late 1990s for what detectives described as "very similar" offences.

The judge made no recommendations in response to a Crown application to have Cruz deported.

The Home Office said it did not discuss individual cases, but in general it would consider information from UK police regarding deportation of a criminal.

Immigration officials would also consider any requests from American authorities in relation to a serious crime.




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC London's Tom Edwards
"There are allegations he has done this before in America"



SEE ALSO:


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific