Married police official avoids jail over stalking campaign against ex-mistress

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A married senior police official who stalked his mistress in a month-long campaign of revenge after she ended their affair has avoided prison.

Nick Harverson, 58, who was the head of corporate support at Thames Valley Police, was found guilty of stalking his ex-lover Charlotte Roberts after she ended their relationship in October last year.

He had been convicted by a district judge earlier this month of a single charge of stalking without causing fear or alarm between November 16 and December 22 last year.

Harverson returned to Oxford Magistrates' Court to be sentenced and was told by District Judge Tim Pattinson to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work, and to pay £2,500 prosecution costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

He was also banned from any direct or indirect contact with Ms Roberts or go to the street where she lives for a period of five years.

Passing sentence, the judge said the case was "much too serious" for a conditional discharge and a community sentence was appropriate.

"I do find that your actions did cause a great deal of anxiety and distress to Ms Roberts. The letter sent was particularly nasty," he said.

"On November 21, you went to her flat and put a key in the door and she described herself as being terrified of what you might do.

"She was particularly concerned when you appeared at the roadside and seemed to know what her working hours were. In short, she felt this was a form of manipulation and that's a view I agree with.

"In some way, it continued during the trial process and a struck a further toll upon Ms Roberts when she gave her evidence.

"There was no violence or threat of violence and I accept you are a man of impeccable character. I have taken account of the problems you have had over the past few months.

"It is a much too serious case for a conditional discharge. I find this case deserving of a more serious penalty and my job as judge is to remember the victim of this offending when passing sentence.

"I find there is a need for punishment rather than rehabilitation."

The court heard that the 18-month relationship began when they both met at Thames Valley Police HQ where they both worked.

When Ms Roberts, who is the executive assistant to Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld, ended it, Harverson wrote her a letter in which he called her an "evil person".

Harverson had stalked her by turning up at her house and trying to enter using his own set of keys while she hid behind the door. He also followed her home and waited at locations he knew she would frequent.

Harverson, of Hollow Furlong, Cassington, Oxfordshire, had denied the charge, claiming that he had been simply trying to "find the truth" of their fractured relationship and that the meetings with her had been "chance encounters".

Richard Davies, defending, said Harverson, who was now retired and relied on his pension, had been suffering from mental health problems recently.

"This is quite a sad case for all parties involved. Mr Harverson and his wife have been through quite a distressful time," he said.

Seeking a conditional discharge, he added: "In reality a conditional discharge would make sure the victim is protected and going forward if there was any further offending the court could revisit the sentencing.

"It would also allow him to address his mental health and also get on with his life."

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Ms Roberts said she had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression and was undergoing counselling because of what "manipulative" Harverson had done to her.

"Physically I feel shocked and distressed and it has taken a toll on me. I am constantly on alert and I fear he might turn up," she said.

"I should be able to relax at home but I feel like it is a prison. This whole case has left me in an emotional mess.

"What started as a genuinely loving relationship turned into a nightmare. Nick has been putting me through hell."

Ms Roberts said that during the trial Harverson gave details of their relationship and claimed she was seeing other people.

"I feel like I have a reputation as a sexual beast," she said.

"I was not seeing other men. My reputation has been tarnished and all because he could not accept our relationship was over. His arrogance knows no bounds.

"I despise him and am painted as a money grabber. I rue the day we met and I wish I could turn the clock back."