“YOU put her through hell.”
Those were the words of a judge as she jailed a man for a carrying out a terrifying seven-month stalking campaign against a Hampshire mum.
Obsessed John Ridd was told his behaviour was predatory and controlling as he was sent to prison for 12 months and served with a ten-year restraining order that bans him from a large part of Totton.
Southampton Crown Court, sitting in Winchester, heard how during the ordeal Ridd, 46, had followed her and even got into her home, moving her personal belongings around, and also sexually assaulted her when he approached her in her car.
- Scaled an 8ft fence to get into her garden while she was taking a shower.
- Broke in to her home and stole her underwear after performing an indecent act in her bedroom.
- Stalked her repeatedly while she was out walking her dog.
- Bombarded her with unwanted emails, phone calls and text messages.
- Parked his van outside her home and in her road repeatedly to make his presence felt.
Prosecutor Adam Feest told how the harassment began in March 2012 when the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, became aware someone had been in her house but couldn’t understand how anyone had got access.
Out and about, she began encountering Ridd on numerous occasions and while taking a shower she saw through the window as he climbed the fence into her garden.
When unwanted emails began arriving the woman took steps to have them blocked, but his campaign continued when Ridd began using a work colleague’s account.
In the road where she lived, Ridd would often park his van and on numerous occasions he would be seen by neighbours, standing outside her house waiting for her.
Mr Feest told how the situation became even more disturbing and in July Ridd approached her and told her he was following her, adding “check your underwear drawer” before he added that he had carried out an indecent act on her underwear.
The court was told how the woman, who had been “stressed to the extreme” discovered three pairs of knickers had been stolen.
Ridd, of Fishers Road, Totton, then sexually assaulted her as he leant into her car as she sat in the driver’s seat.
Following his arrest in November, Ridd told police everything in a “candid” interview, with his defence barrister Megan Topliss saying he acknowledged he had been obsessed.
He was well thought of by his employers and his family, including two daughters who were crying in court as he was jailed, and his new partner who was standing by him, Ms Topliss added.
But jailing him, Judge Susan Evans told Ridd: “You caused her a great deal of fear. She said you put her through hell and I can see that.
“The burglary was a gross invasion of privacy and no doubt traumatic for her when you told her what you had done with her drawer.”
Ridd’s ten-year restraining order means he cannot approach her or enter the area where she lives.