'Obsessive' stalker pitched tent in garden of his victim's home as he subjected her to years of trauma

A stalker who pitched a tent in his victim's garden as he traumatised her for more than two years has been sent to prison.

Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 12:30 pm

Robert Biddle was locked up for 30 months after a court heard how the woman suffered psychological injuries over his obsession for her.

Biddle turned up at the woman's home in Kippax so often that she was afraid to get out of bed.

A judge who sentenced the 49-year-old at Leeds Crown Court said: "The psychological affect on her has been significant.

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Biddle is now behind bars.

"She was worried about what you would ultimately do."

Robert Stevenson, prosecuting, said Biddle first met the woman when they began chatting in a pub in 2009.

Biddle was invited back to her home where they continued drinking before he left.

Mr Stevenson said the woman did not see Biddle again until the summer of 2018.

She returned home to find him sitting at her kitchen table making a cup of tea.

The victim was terrified as she did not recognise Biddle from their meeting nine years previously.

She sent a text message to her mother asking her to contact the police.

Officers went to the property and removed him from the house.

The prosecutor said Biddle then began stalking the woman from September 2018.

He would turn up uninvited and bang on her door.

Mr Stevenson said: "She would ignore him. Sometimes she would shout at him.

"It happened two to three times per week.

"Things got so bad that she would not get out of bed.

"She would freeze or hide in the house so he couldn't see her through the window."

Mr Stevenson said the woman did not initially report Biddle because she was going through family court proceedings in relation to her child and did not want police coming to her home.

Biddle continued to stalk the woman throughout 2019.

On one occasion he turned up at her home and she agreed to let him go to buy her some cigarettes from a shop.

He then began turning up at her home with cigarettes on regular occasions

The prosecutor said: "On other occasions he would turn up saying he had bought her dog a bone or that he had bought her a new dishcloth."

The defendant's visits to her home increased to four times a week.

Biddle would ask to be allowed into her home for a shower or a drink of water and would walk into the house if the door was unlocked.

The victim would find him cleaning his bicycle in her garden.

Biddle would also bang on the door late at night and wake up the victim's daughter.

The court heard Biddle sent Facebook messages to the woman.

Mr Stevenson said: "He started telling her how much he loved her and wanted to be her man."

He tried to hug her and she had to punch him to get him away from her.

On September 4 last year Biddle sent her a text message saying he had pitched a tent in her garden and had spent the night in it.

She looked out of her property to see the tent in the garden.

The woman told Biddle not to speak to her and closed the door.

Mr Stevenson said: "She decided that she had had far too much of this behaviour and that's when she decided to report things to the police."

Biddle was arrested but denied any wrongdoing.

He accepted he first met the woman years earlier but said she had since consented to him visiting her home.

He was released on bail with conditions not to contact her but turned up at her home on January 25 this year.

The woman ran to a neighbour's house for help.

Police were informed and Biddle was remanded in custody.

He pleaded not guilty to an offence of stalking, causing serious alarm or distress.

Biddle was found guilty after a trial before magistrates.

The victim provided a statement to the court describing her suffering as a result of the offending.

Mr Stevenson said: "She has felt extremely stressed and anxious.

"It has affected her day to day life.

"There were days when she could not get out of bed through fear.

"She struggled to sleep, suffered from nightmares and would wake up screaming.

"She was also scared for her daughter's welfare."

Biddle, of High Street, Castleford, has previous convictions for drug offences and violence.

Robin Frieze, mitigating, said Biddle had never used or threatened violence towards the victim.

Mr Frieze said Biddle was struggling to cope in custody and knows that if he ever contacts the woman in the future he will be going to jail for a long time.

Sentencing, Judge Neil Clark said: "Your behaviour became so intrusive that she was afraid to get out of bed.

"That she was so afraid is understandable, given you were so obsessive.

"I am afraid this behaviour was so persistent and had such a detrimental impact on the complainant that only an immediate custodial sentence can be justified."