Blyth police officer that stalked his ex and misused force computers given suspended sentence

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A police officer stalked his ex and made hundreds of unlawful checks on the force's computer when he could not accept the relationship had ended.

Jonathan Waugh abused Northumbria Police's system to search for information about his former girlfriend, her sons, and his ex-wife.

The 49-year-old reacted badly when his two-year relationship ended and would message the woman regularly and turn up at her home unannounced, Teesside Crown Court heard.

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Jon Harley, prosecuting, said that on one occasion the defendant barged into the woman's house and refused to leave after he became obsessed with her.

Jonathan Waugh was sentenced at Teesside Crown Court. (Photo by National World)Jonathan Waugh was sentenced at Teesside Crown Court. (Photo by National World)
Jonathan Waugh was sentenced at Teesside Crown Court. (Photo by National World)

The court heard how a neighbour of the woman had spotted the defendant peering through her garden fence.

In a victim impact statement, she described how Waugh's behaviour had impacted on her life.

"I have felt scared about going out the house because of this awful feeling of being watched," she said.

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"I became more reclusive. I have experienced many sleepless nights, waking at the slightest noise."

The victim said she had installed CCTV cameras at her home and was considering moving so that the defendant would no longer know where she lived.

Mr Harley said Waugh had used the force's computer system hundreds of times to carry out unlawful checks on his ex-girlfriend, ex-wife, and their respective children.

Waugh, of Blyth, Northumberland, pleaded guilty to one charge of stalking during May and June last year and six charges of computer misuse between June 2020 and June 2023.

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Mark Styles, mitigating, said his client had been suspended from the force and was fully expecting to lose his job as a result of his conviction.

He told the court that Waugh was highly thought of by his colleagues throughout his 20-year career and former colleagues while he was serving in the armed forces.

Recorder Caroline Sellars said his behaviour would severely damage the public's trust in the police and had left his stalking victim terrified of his actions.

"You carried out a search on the force computer of your own name, no doubt trying to find out whether any reports had been made about you," she said.

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Waugh was sentenced to 28 weeks in prison suspended for 18 months and ordered to attend 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days, attend a Building Better Relationships course, take part in a mental health treatment program, and was made subject to a six-month trail monitoring tag.

She added: "You were motivated by our own feelings and your own wants. You did not give a thought to the victim. You were unable or unwilling to take no for an answer."

He was also issued with a five-year restraining order.

Detective Superintendent Donna Rose, head of professional standards at Northumbria Police, said: “Firstly, I want to recognise the bravery of the victim in coming forward, which meant this individual has now been brought to justice.

“The officer was suspended from duty when concerns were raised and a thorough investigation was carried out.

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“A file was submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service and they were subsequently charged with offences, for which they have now been sentenced.

“Their actions were completely unacceptable and are in no way representative of the overwhelming majority of officers, staff, and volunteers at Northumbria Police who come to work to make a positive difference to people’s lives.

“As a force we have made it very clear that when someone falls below the standards expected, and which they made a commitment to uphold, we will take appropriate action.

“I can confirm misconduct proceedings are also being progressed in relation to the officer, who remains suspended from duty.”