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Teacher’s year of hell at hands of her stalker
A MATURE student has admitted subjecting his IT teacher to a year-long stalking ordeal.
Michael Marks claimed to be a clairvoyant and bought presents for IT course leader Linda Wood before embarking on a 12-month spree of following her in locations across the New Forest.
Christine Burke, prosecuting, told the court Marks bought Mrs Wood an ornamental teddy bear at the end of the course, before claiming he was a clairvoyant and describing the details of her house, and names of her children.
She said: “She was shocked and asked him to leave. Before leaving, he asked her for a photo, but she declined.”
The court heard how Marks was given “strong advice” to stop his behaviour as it could amount to harassment.
But a day later an apology letter from Marks was posted into Mrs Wood’s pigeon hole and chocolates were left for her.
Letters were also sent to her colleagues asking if she had received the apology.
In September last year, Mrs Wood reported she was still encountering problems from Marks after seeing him driving on her road.
He was interviewed by police and cautioned.
The court heard how there were 14 stalking incidents between March 30, 2012, and May 30, 2013.
Incidents included Marks appearing in New Forest car parks at the same time as Mrs Wood attempted to walk her dogs, and driving the opposite way down a road she was driving on and waving at her.
Another incident involved Marks parking adjacent to Mrs Wood’s car in Lymington when she went on a shopping trip in the town with her mother.
In February this year, Mrs Wood and her husband went to walk their dogs but spotted Marks’ car manoeuvring in Longslade Bottom car park when they arrived.
The defendant was also seen near to a newsagents where Mrs Wood was buying a newspaper in November last year, the court heard.
Marks initially pleaded not guilty to the charge of stalking but changed his plea in August before a scheduled trial in September.
William Day, defending Marks, said: “He needs some help through probation to understand what happened and why it shouldn’t happen again.
“He is quite worried about the whole situation. He is someone that has no previous convictions.
He is a man of good character but a caution relating to this lady.
“He has got family support from his wife. She is upset about these matters and he has got support from his daughters.
“They are worried and upset about the way he behaved.”
Chair of magistrates Clive Marks gave Marks a two-year restraining order, restricting him from contacting Mrs Wood, and entering the road in which she lives.
In addition, he handed Marks a community order with a 12- month supervision requirement, and 100 hours unpaid work.
Marks must pay costs of £135 and a victim surcharge of £60.
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