South African man jailed for stalking wife in Suffolk after they separated

Bronnagh Brannigan was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Christopher Arnold, of Langvlei Dunes, South Africa, admitted stalking his wife causing her alarm or distress by repeatedly contacting her, trying to find out where she was living and loitering in the area where she was living. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

A 62-year-old man who travelled from South Africa to Suffolk and stalked his wife after they separated has been jailed for 17 months.

Christopher Arnold bombarded his wife with messages and emails and led her to believe he was in the UK and was staying nearby, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

The messages included him saying: “I’m very near you” and “I’ll be seeing you sooner than you think,” said Isobel Ascherson, prosecuting.

The victim contacted police and Arnold was told not to contact her unless it was through her solicitor, but following the warning in May last year he made a further 23 calls to her.

Arnold travelled from South Africa on May 23 last year and after contacting his wife's friends to find out where she was he messaged telling her locations where she’d been, including Thorpeness on a Bank Holiday weekend.

Christopher Arnold, 62, was jailed for stalking his estranged wife

Christopher Arnold was jailed at Ipswich Crown Court for 17 months - Credit: Suffolk police

She said although the messages weren’t directly threatening they were deliberately harassing and intended to frighten her.

In August last year the police were notified when Arnold was found near his wife's new home with binoculars and when his property was searched her wedding dress and notes detailing her movements were discovered, said Miss Ascherson.

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Arnold, of Langvlei Dunes, South Africa, admitted stalking his wife causing her alarm or distress by repeatedly contacting her, trying to find out where she was living and loitering in the area where she was living between December 18 2019 and August 22 last year.

Jailing him for 17 months Recorder William Clegg said: “Men must understand that when they engage in stalking women it causes them serious alarm and distress and such contact will inevitably be met by an immediate term of imprisonment."

He said Arnold’s behaviour was aggravated by a previous conviction for battery involving a different partner.

In addition to being jailed Arnold was banned from contacting his wife for 10 years.

The court heard that the pair were married and had been living in South Africa until the relationship broke down and Arnold's wife came back to the UK to get away from him.

Duncan O’Donnell for Arnold said it was accepted that his client had struggled to accept the breakdown of the relationship.

He also accepted he had continued sending her emails after being told by a police officer not to contact her.

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