Woman was harassed by dating website stalker
Man ignored police warning, court told
A WOMAN has told how her irritation turned to fear after the man she met through an online dating agency began to stalk her.
Newbury magistrates issued a restraining order against John Edward Blissett after he ignored a police warning to stop harassing Christine Marsh.
Helen Waite, prosecuting on Thursday, March 17, said Mr Blissett, a 46-year-old father of one who lives at Leonards Lee Crescent, Newbury, began seeing Ms Marsh after they initially corresponded on dating website Plenty More Fish.
She added: “She describes him as having been jealous, constantly checking up on her; she felt he was trying to control her.”
When she ended the relationship a few weeks later, Mr Blissett began bombarding her with text messages via social media platform WhatsApp, making “jealous accusations,” the court heard.
Ms Waite said Ms Marsh tried to let him down gently but, after several weeks of messages, said she wanted no more contact.
But the messages continued and then, on January 5, Ms Marsh went to a bowling alley in Thatcham at 7pm.
Ms Waite said: “She was spooked and scared to see the defendant’s distinctive, brightly-coloured BMW park on the road nearby.”
The court heard Ms Marsh left on foot but two hours later she returned, and later told police: “As I approached I could see him walking round the car park, looking in the front door of the bowling alley.
“I was really scared because he had followed me and was waiting in the car park to do who knows what.”
When she returned to the car park at 9.30pm, Mr Blissett was still there and she went to Newbury Police Station and reported her concerns.
Ms Waite said that, in all, Mr Blissett had waited until midnight and added: “He had hung around that car park for more than five hours.
“That’s not normal behaviour, as she put it. He knew where she lived and she felt vulnerable.”
Police subsequently served Mr Blissett with a Police Information Notice for harassment, the court heard.
But Mr Blissett then created a fake profile on the same dating website, trying to lure Ms Marsh into engaging with him, said Ms Waite.
When Ms Marsh responded: “Is that you, John? Nice try,” the court heard, he created yet another fake profile and tried again.
On another occasion, said Ms Waite, she was “really alarmed” when she came home to find Mr Blissett’s car driving along her road.
He later pulled up beside her but she called police and he was arrested.
Mr Blissett admitted causing harassment between January 5 and January 15.
Mike Davis, defending, said: “He has never been in any kind of trouble before – no convictions, no cautions, no reprimands, nothing at all.
“He made full and frank admissions and realises what he did was wrong and caused her upset.
“He didn’t set out to frighten or harass anyone but acknowledges his behaviour had that effect.
“There has been no further contact or repeat of the behaviour – he has got the point and has moved on.”
Magistrates fined Mr Blissett £500 and ordered him to pay Ms Marsh £200 compensation.
He was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
Finally, the court imposed a restraining order preventing Mr Blissett from contacting Ms Marsh in any way.