A MAN who convinced his girlfriend she was being stalked has been jailed thanks to a “dogged and protracted” police investigation.
Dyfed-Powys Police officers were able to prove that Rhodri Harries was behind a relentless series of messages sent to his ex-partner in an attempt to test her fidelity.
Harries who has now been jailed, was described in court as showing “bizarre and wicked” behaviour in making his girlfriend believe she had a stalker while pretending to support her through the police investigation.
Investigating officers were praised in court for their work in identifying Harries as a suspect and building a strong case against him.
Temporary Detective Inspector Matthew Briggs said: “This was a very unusual case, which began in August 2019 when the victim reported she had been receiving messages from a social media account she believed to be fake.
“The matter escalated as the victim received 118 calls and 84 messages over a short period of time, including information which led her to believe the person was following her.
“This had a massive impact on the victim, who was so fearful that she began to sleep with weapons nearby.”
Police resources were immediately dedicated to the enquiry, with safety and security advice given to the victim.
Harries became a suspect when a message contained a reference to something the victim had said when he was in the room.
Police focussed their enquiries on the 35-year-old, identifying him as the person buying top-up credits for the mobile phone used to send the messages, and tracing the location of the phone using cell site analysis, which matched his movements.
He was arrested on suspicion of stalking after turning up at the victim’s address unexpectedly while she was providing a statement to police officers.
The following day, a mobile phone was found hidden under a carpet near the victim’s garden. This was examined and found to belong to the suspect.
Harries, of Maesywerin, Ammanford, was charged with controlling and coercive behaviour against his now ex-partner, and appeared at Swansea Crown Court for sentencing on Friday, December 4.
He was jailed for 12 months, and given an indefinite restraining order.
T/DI said: “In court, Harries’s behaviour was described as “bizarre and wicked”, and just as severe as a serious assault. The recorder added that he saw it as a form of emotional violence.
“Domestic abuse can come in all forms, and emotional control is just one type of behaviour these offenders use against their victims.
“Harries has left his victim feeling anxious, paranoid and in constant fear of danger, and there is no doubt that her life has been profoundly impacted. The escalation in his behaviour was deeply concerning and a potentially more serious incident has been avoided thanks to the thorough investigation and support of the victim.
“I would like to commend the victim for coming forward to report the matter, and for the strength she has shown throughout the investigation.”
Dyfed-Powys Police has dedicated resources to investigate domestic abuse, and to support victims.
For more information on where to access advice on reporting domestic abuse, or what support is available, click here
For support from Goleudy victim and witness service, click here