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Richard Boydell, from Herne Bay, jailed for stalking woman who took pity on him

By Paul Hooper

A man with a previous conviction for harassment has been jailed for waging a terrifying six-month stalking campaign against a woman who had shown him kindness.

Richard Boydell had appeared in court on a number of occasions after making his wife's life a misery.

But when the 54-year-old was stopped after a complaint from another victim, police discovered sinister items in his car including a seven-inch kitchen knife, cable ties and cable cutters.

Richard Boydell. Picture: Kent Police.
Richard Boydell. Picture: Kent Police.

Now Boydell, of Canterbury Road, Herne Bay, has been sent to prison for three years and banned from going anywhere near his victim for five years.

Prosecutor Peter Forbes told Canterbury Crown Court Boydell had been befriended by a group of people in a pub in March after they took pity on him.

"What followed was a sustained period of stalking for more than six months which had followed him harassing his estranged wife.

"The victim and her group of friends had felt sorry for him and invited him to join them."

But Boydell began following her on shopping trips, turning up at her work, even when she changed her shifts, forcing her to run and hide.

Judge Simon James
Judge Simon James

"Sometimes she felt trapped inside her home and had to leave by the back door to avoid him - but still he followed her.

"She tried to ignore him and began writing a diary about the times she saw him but there were so many times she got fed up recording the instances.

"It ended in August when police searched his car, which had been parked near his victim, who is in her 50s, and discovered the knife and cable ties in the boot," he added.

The court heard that although Boydell made no physical threats to his victim, his behaviour was regarded as "creepy" and forced his victim to carry a panic alarm.

"I believe you pose a significant risk of causing serious harm, particularly to women" - Judge Simon James, to Richard Boydell

Investigating officer Detective Constable Brigitte Collard said: "The victim made it clear that she was not interested in him in a romantic way, yet he asked her out on dates even after she asked him to stop.

"She told us she would see him several times a day. He would be outside her home when she went to work in the morning and would follow her to work. Sometimes he would be waiting for her when she arrived home.

"He started parking his vehicle outside her home and if she went onto her balcony she would see him looking up at her.

"He followed her when she went to her local supermarket and on one occasion was in the car park of the bowling alley she was at with her daughter in another town."

Boydell, who admitted stalking and possessing an offensive weapon, had been sent to prison for 60 days in 2010 for breaching court orders with regard to his estranged wife – and the following year was given a 40-day suspended custodial sentence which he again breached.

Simon Taylor, defending, said: "He is a man who needs to face up to his problems.

"He claimed the cable ties and the knife were in the car for innocent reasons."

But Judge Simon James said Boydell had made his wife's life a misery and had then stalked a woman "who had only showed him complete kindness".

The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court
The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court

He added: "You caused real and significant psychological harm to your victim and courts have a duty to protect them.

"I believe you pose a significant risk of causing serious harm, particularly to women.

"And I regard the finding of the cable ties and knife to be a worrying development in your behaviour."

After the hearing, DC Collard praised his victim for coming forward.

She said: "Boydell’s actions had a huge impact on both her health and her daily life. She had made it clear from the start that she didn’t want a relationship with him, yet he ignored her wishes and followed her on a daily basis.

"I hope this case shows how seriously Kent Police takes reports of this nature and that we will do everything we can to help and support victims and bring offenders to justice."

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