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A stalker who fabricated a web of lies to cause untold distress to his victim and her family has been sent to prison for 5 years and 11 months.
44-year-old Timothy Philip Lee Millward of Redfield Way, Scarborough appeared at York Crown Court on Friday 22 April and pleaded guilty to stalking with the intent to cause alarm and distress, perverting the course of justice and unauthorised computer access.
The court heard how Millward became obsessed with his victim after a short period working together at a Scarborough Hotel. Millward attempted to start a relationship with the victim, but when she turned him down and explained she wasn’t interested in a romantic relationship, his vendetta began.
Millward concocted a fake kidnap ploy involving the victim, with the intention of making it look like she was behind the scheme and attempting to defraud people.
Reporting her as kidnapped and claiming to have received demands for cash to the police, officers acted in good faith on Millward’s concerns and launched a response to ensure the victim was not being held against her will. On finding her safe, the police investigated the false kidnap report and as part of the early enquiries the victim was arrested, as the evidence collated at the time pointed towards her involvement.
However, the victim denied all knowledge of the kidnap hoax and as the investigation deepened it was clear from forensic phone analysis that Millward was behind the messages and not the victim.
At the same time, the victim’s family was receiving malicious messages from an unknown social media account. Again, detailed phone investigations led back to Millward who had also hacked in to the victims Instagram account and taken family pictures to set up fake accounts in her name and harass members of her family, causing strain on her family relationships.
In her victim statement, the victim described how this was the worst struggle she has had to overcome in her life and how she never knew someone could create such pain without physically hurting her. She described the change in herself, and how the messages she and her family received had caused a downward spiral. A member of her family described how Millward’s stalking and obsessive behaviour had had such a negative effect on them all and had ‘drained the life out of the family.’
Speaking about the sentence handed to Millward, Detective Constable Rachael Hughes from Scarborough Criminal Investigation Department said:
“This was an incredibly complex and complicated case to unravel. The lengths Millward went to wreak havoc and cause such alarm and distress to the victim and her family were just unbelievable. He fabricated a false kidnap claim in an attempt to frame her for attempted fraud and went on to try and isolate her by destroying her family relationships. But unequivocal digital and DNA evidence put the phone, which was the source of all this misery, firmly in Millward’s hand.
“I’d like to thank the victim and her family for being so brave and resolute throughout the investigation and court case. I hope the sentence handed to Millward is of some comfort to them and they can all go forward to more positive times. I’d also like to thank the officers involved for their thorough police work which enabled justice to prevail.
“Finally I hope this sends a clear message to those who cause so much damage to people’s lives through stalking and harassment – we will pursue you and no matter how complicated a story you try to weave, we will unpick it, find the truth and will put you before the courts.”