Lancaster man Stephen Baxter told tormented ex he would "slash" her and throw acid in her face

Crown Court
Crown Court

An obsessive man plagued a woman, her ex partner and her child with abusive messages and calls after his relationship with her came to an end.

Stephen Baxter, 33 of Fairhope Avenue, Lancaster, even assaulted his victim.

He admitted harassment, assault, criminal damage, and witness intimidation at Preston Crown Court.

His victim, with whom he had been in a relationship for eight months, was tormented by more than 150 abusive and threatening phone calls and social media messages as he waged a campaign of hatred.

READ MORE: Stalkers who are never brought to justice in Preston
Prosecuting, David Traynor said: " As background she says during their relationship the defendant was paranoid and made threats that if she entered a new relationship he would stab the new person.

"Their relationship came to an end in November. She says the defendant started to send her abusive and threatening messages. Her initial response was simply to block his mobile number, but he then took to Facebook, using the account of an associate, and sent abusive messages in that way.

"At her place of work he would make phone calls to her - the nature of her job means she has to answer the phone without knowing who it is.

"Despite that background, in early December she says she allowed him to stay at her house for about a week because he had nowhere else to go.

"On December 14, she says she was in her bedroom getting ready for work when the defendant suddenly entered. He started arguing with her accusing her of talking to other men on Whats App.

"She asked him to leave a number of times, but he kept going back into her room and she said he was getting into her personal space, so as a result of that she pushed him away. She said he was irate and had a clenched fist.

"Unfortunately she caught him in the eye with her finger. She then ran downstairs to get away from the defendant, but says he followed her and punched her in the ribs once."

The victim went to work but Baxter bombarded her with messages asking her to take him to hospital to 'have his eye looked at'.

She agreed but when they got there he told doctors she had poked his eye deliberately. She left but he followed her to her car.

She eventually agreed to give him a lift but changed her mind a short time later and asked him to get out.

Baxter then grabbed and smashed her phone, and pulled off her wing mirror.

On Christmas Eve he sent a message to the victim's daughter, which was seen by the child's dad - who messaged him and told him not to contact her.

Baxter then sent a string of abusive messages to the dad threatening to smash his house.

At that stage police were called.

Baxter was arrested on Christmas Day and in interview claimed the victim had been harassing him.

He was charged and given bail conditions not to contact her, but on the day he was released he made constant phone calls to her threatening to kill her and then himself.

He made more than 50 calls to her.

The court heard she answered the 37th call and he told her "Gonna slash your face and throw acid in your face".

The victim told him to do what he wanted and hung up.

But he phoned back again and said: "If you put in a retraction statement I will leave you alone."

Defending, Fraser Livesey said Baxter had served five months on remand already - equivalent to a 10 month jail term - and had gained qualifications in custody.

He said :"He appears to recognise and have insight into his behaviour.

Recorder Mukhtar Hussain QC suspended his 15 month sentence for two years and imposed a three year restraining order.

He was ordered to take part in the Building Better relationships programme.