Stalker told terrified former partner to 'sleep with her eyes open' during campaign of threats

A man who warned his former partner to "sleep with her eyes open" and threatened to attack her with a cosh has been locked up.

Saturday, 12th September 2020, 11:45 am

Craig Symonds, 33, sent vile messages to the terrified female, turned up at her address and was accused of contacting her place of work to tell her bosses she had been stealing, which was not true.

Appearing at Leeds Crown Court, Symonds admitted a charge of stalking and causing a fear of violence towards the female.

Connor Quinn, prosecuting, told the court that the pair had been in an on-off relationship for three-and-a-half years and had a child together.

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Leeds Crown Court

In December 17 last year, Symonds, of Mill Lane, South Kirkby, began sending her text messages calling her names and commenting on her appearance.

Three days later he went to her address and became abusive when she refused to let him in.

He then followed her in his car and sent her another message saying that she would be under investigation at work that day.

When she reached work she was told a complaint had been lodged against her and she was sent home.

The accusation, made by Symonds, turned out to be incorrect and she was allowed to return to work.

Then, two days before Christmas, the messages started again.

Mr Quinn said: "At 9.30am he started making threats to her and her family if he could not see his son over Christmas.

"He threatened to ruin Christmas and warned not to close her eyes while she slept."

One message read: "What you want is a cosh around the f****** head. I have a special friend in the boot of my car for you lot."

Finally, on January 3 she noticed him following her again in his car when she was taking her own car to the garage.

He sent another message saying he knew all the local mechanics and he would make sure they would not do the work for her.

Mr Quinn added: "She (the victim) described it as having a major impact on her day-to-day life. He won't leave her alone and there's a feeling he is going to do something.

"She is scared and worried because the abuse is escalating and could result in her getting hurt."

After his arrest Symonds admitted sending the messages but described the dispute as "tit-for-tat".

In interview he admitted making the false complaint to her work, but later disputed that, the court was told.

He has 26 convictions, including battery, harassment and spitting on a former partner.

Geraldine Kelly, mitigating, said Symonds was a hard worker and had two jobs - one at a drainage company during the week and another in a takeaway on weekends.

In relation to the latest offence, Ms Kelly said he had been bitter and angry at not seeing his child and that a family member had been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

However, Judge Christopher Batty pointed out that Symonds behaved in a similar manner in the past when neither of these mitigating circumstances were apparent.

Judge Batty added: "What you do when things don't go your way is you become abusive and very threatening."

Addressing the message Symonds sent, he said: "You chose those words very carefully to be as abusive as possible.

"You focused in on her insecurities and her appearance to make her as uncomfortable as possible.

"You are going to have to go into custody I'm afraid because this is just too serious."

Symonds was jailed for 32 weeks and made the subject of a restraining order to stay away from the victim.