A woman guilty of stalking her daughter’s ex-boyfriend said she ‘could not understand’ her own actions.
Julie Kellett, 53, of Church Mead, Steyning, was sentenced at Worthing Magistrates’ Court on Monday for sending texts and postcards to the 22-year-old man, five months after his relationship with her daughter ended.
Your activities make no sense to us, or to youChairman of magistrates Gavin Oclee-Brown
The court heard how the couple got together in July 2014. He briefly met her family once before they broke up in September that year, when he went to university in Winchester.
In February 2015, he started receiving cards in the post signed by Lauren Watkins – an alias used by Kellett. Prosecutor Gaynor Byng described the cards as being of a ‘friendly, flirty and sexual nature’, and said he received two or three a week.
He then began to receive text messages and calls from a withheld number that would hang up when he answered. By September 2015, he was receiving cards with between £40 and £60 in them and packages of clothing.
The court heard how he called the police after cards began arriving at his new address. He also received texts from ‘Lauren’ mentioning specific restaurants and attractions he had visited on a 2016 holiday to Australia, despite not posting on social media.
After investigations into his Halifax account, police discovered that Kellett, who worked for the bank for 29 years, had been regularly accessing his account to keep updated on his whereabouts.
Kellett’s fingerprints also matched those on the cards.
As a result of her actions, Kellett lost her job. She admitted she had ‘acted very stupidly’ by stalking him.
In a victim impact statement, the 22-year-old said ‘all I ever wanted was for Lauren to stop contacting me’ and added that it had affected his subsequent relationships.
Kellett’s solicitor described it as ‘one of the most perplexing cases that I have come across’, adding: “She is totally unable to give any explanation for why this happened.
“She has put all this in a box and tried to put it away; she doesn’t want to confront it at all.”
According to the solicitor, Kellett said: “I don’t want to make excuses for what I did. I wish I could understand it but I can’t.”
The court heard how Kellett had not told her family she was going to court – and they had not asked why she had been arrested.
Kellett was sentenced to a 12 month community order with 130 hours of unpaid work and 20 days of rehabilitation activities, and was ordered to pay £170.
She was also given a restraining order preventing her from contacting the 22-year-old or sending anything to his home or work address.
Chairman of magistrates Gavin Oclee-Brown said he and his colleagues were ‘totally puzzled’ by Kellett’s actions and told her to tell her family.
“Your activities make no sense to us, or to you. I would ponder on the effect they have had [on the 22-year-old].”
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