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Whitstable taxi driver Nicholas Bergin jailed for stalking and intimidating ex-partner

A jealous stalker broke into his ex's home and subjected her to a barrage of threats in a terrifying campaign of harassment.

"Jekyll and Hyde" Nicholas Bergin, 46, has been jailed for more than two years after months spent terrorising his former partner.

Nicholas Bergin. Picture: Kent Police
Nicholas Bergin. Picture: Kent Police

The long-serving taxi driver, of Eversleigh Rise in Whitstable, began "relentlessly and persistently" stalking his ex after their relationship ended last July.

The couple began seeing each other in 2015 and have two children together, now aged three and five.

But Bergin's behaviour soon grew "controlling and coercive", prosecutor Joey Kwong told Canterbury Crown Court on Thursday.

Bergin, who has three children from a previous relationship, was "jealous and did not like [his partner] talking to men".

Mr Kwong told how he would go through her phone and check her Facebook when she was asleep, wait outside her work and follow her in her car.

He also physically abused her by punching and slapping her.

The victim described Bergin as "literally like Jekyll and Hyde", saying: "He can be the nicest person or he can be the nastiest."

After their relationship ended last July, Bergin's behaviour escalated and he began stalking his ex.

He harassed her at home and work, where he would "punch or kick the front door or just look through the letterbox and not say anything, or shout abuse through letterbox", said Mr Kwong.

Bergin also twice broke into his ex's home with a stolen key, looking for evidence of her "cheating".

He sometimes showed up at random locations, such as Greggs in Sturry and at Specsavers in Herne Bay where his ex was having an eye appointment.

"He relentlessly used threatening and abusive words towards her, in person, by messages, and in phone calls," added Mr Kwong.

"Accusations often driven by jealousy that she was sleeping with another man."

"You were making accusations, calling her vile and misogynistic names..."

At one point, Bergin threatened he would "smash her face in or take her jaw in".

On another occasion he called her a "gutless *****" telling her: "You go to the Old Bill – see what happens."

He also threatened to expose intimate photos of her to her workplace.

Bergin was arrested on December 15, when he denied stalking his ex-partner and intentionally damaging property.

But police seized his phone, which found abusive messages "calling her expletives, constantly questioning her whereabouts, threatening to send her to a psychiatrist to gain custody of the children, saying he was watching her at work and at home", said Mr Kwong.

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Bergin was released on bail, under conditions he was not allowed to contact his ex or visit her home.

But he continued to send threatening messages, sometimes calling her more than 40 times a day.

He also confronted her in person, once intercepting her while on the school run and "upsetting" their sons.

His victim feared he had placed a tracker on her car after she left a hospital appointment with her son to find Bergin waiting by her car, though there is no evidence of one being used.

On January 5 – in "fear of what would happen to her" – she issued a retraction statement to police.

But as Bergin's behaviour continued to escalate, she grew worried and contacted the police again.

Bergin was charged with stalking involving fear of violence and intimidation of a witness on January 25.

Last Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to both offences.

Defence barrister Phil Rowley urged the judge to take Bergin's lack of previous convictions and the fact he is a "hard working" father-of-five into account when sentencing him.

"This litany of conduct might be said to be out of character with his general conduct in his adult life," he said.

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

Bergin has been on remand at HMP Elmley since being charged and appeared in court via video link.

Mr Rowley said Bergin's time in custody "has allowed him to reflect carefully on his conduct".

"He has recognised there must be a change," he said. "There is genuine remorse here, which is reflected by his pleas."

Addressing Bergin, judge Catherine Brown said: "You used a wide variety of methods to relentlessly and persistently stalk [your victim].

"Your conduct was no doubt rooted in your continuous jealousy.

"You were threatening her and putting her in fear of violence."

"You were making accusations, calling her vile and misogynistic names. The sort of names that men use to women when they really have no respect of regard for that woman, regardless of what they say about how they care for them.

"All this was of course in flagrant abuse of your bail conditions. You were threatening her and putting her in fear of violence.

"Your victim was particularly vulnerable because she suffered from anxiety.

"Your children plainly suffered badly as a result of what you were doing to their mother."

Bergin, who has recently been made the subject of a Stalking Protection Order, was sentenced to 32 months in prison.

Judge Brown said: "I hope that with the conclusion of this case [the victim] is able to get on with her life without the ongoing quite unacceptable and threatening behaviour to which she's subjected by you."

She added that Bergin will be handed "a very significant term of imprisonment" if he re-offends.

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