Anger over freedom for six-year stalker

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The Independent Online
A STALKER'S victim was living in fear last night after the man who has hounded her for six years walked free from court.

Tracey Morgan, 30, wept as Anthony Burstow was bound over to keep the peace before walking away from Reading Crown Court a free man.

Former naval petty officer Burstow, 38, made history in March 1996 when he became the first stalker to be convicted of causing psychological grievous bodily harm. He was jailed for three years.

His victim, Miss Morgan, formerly known as Tracey Sant choked back tears today as she described how her nightmare had begun again.

She said: "As far as British justice goes he's got his civil liberites but I've not got mine any more. The suffering goes on.He knows where I'm living at the moment and I will just have to be on my guard and wonder whether when the phone rings or when the post comes will it be him."

Her six year ordeal which began after the pair met when they were working together at HMS Collingwood in Fareham, Hants, in 1992. He became obsessed with her and when she tried to end the friendship his campaign of harassment began.

During a four-year reign of terror he bombarded her with phone calls, bugged her home, stole her underwear and her wedding video and attacked her car pouring oil over it.

He even moved into a house just 500 yards from hers and wrote a poison pen letter in which he said: "Remember this is totally personal and nothing will change how much I hate you."

Burstow was jailed in a landmark case in March 1996 for causing Miss Morgan psychological grievous bodily harm but he was determined to pursue her even from his prison cell. Letters he tried to write to her were seized.

He was released in June last year and left her in peace until the start of this year when he began to pester her again, sending her a birthday card and hanging around outside her home in Crowthorne, Berks, where he was arrested.

Judge Stanley Spence bound Burstow over to keep the peace for 12 months in the sum of pounds 400. The case against him was ordered to lie on the file. Paul Reid, prosecuting, told the court there was not enough evidence to prove that Burstow had caused Miss Morgan grievous bodily harm.

Mr Reid described how Burstow had started up his campaign again after being released from jail.He said: "All was apparently well during the latter half of last year until the beginning of this year on January 6 when Miss Morgan received a birthday card which she took to be from the defendant. "Thereafter she received reports from others that he or someone who was thought to be him was seen in the vicinity of her home."

Mr Reid said that Miss Morgan went to see a psychiatrist with whom she had been in regular contact throughout her ordeal.

"She was in a very distressed state. The Crown would say that her distressed state amounted to grievous bodily harm. She did not actually see the defendant until January 21, a couple of days after her consultation with the psychiatrist but his sighting of him needless to say brought her further distress."

Judge Stanley Spence told the hearing: "I offer my great sympathy to Miss Morgan who has found herself in a very difficult situation over many years."

He told Burstow: "I want you to do nothing that will in any way impinge on the life of Miss Morgan in any adverse way." Burstow agreed he would not.

He faces a further prosecution under the Protection of Harassment Act 1997 which will be dealt with at a magistrates court.

Margaret Greenfields, a sexual violence policy worker with the Rights of Work legal pressure group, said she was bitterly disappointed with the outcome of the case.

She said: "It seems extraordinary that the defendant in this case was simply bound over given the history of harassment. It is disappointing that the CPS decided there was not enough evidence in this case."