He stalked a female friend who turned down his advances and sent her up to 17 emails a day containing threats and sexually explicit content for over a year.
To carry out the harassment, he even created 12 different email accounts.
The 35-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the woman’s identity, persisted in stalking the 29-year-old woman even after the two had reached a settlement following a magistrate’s complaint that the woman had filed over his conduct.
Despite being charged in court for these offences, the man, who is an artist, continued sending the woman emails.
On Tuesday (6 February), the man was jailed six months after he pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful stalking between 2 November and 2 December 2016. Another similar offence between 29 October and 1 November last year was taken into consideration for his sentencing.
The court heard that the man befriended the woman, who works as an artist manager, in late 2015. At the time, the man courted the woman but she turned down his advances multiple times.
Faced with rejection, the man began stalking the woman, including following her home from her workplace as many as four times a month, and sometimes sending her 15 to 17 emails daily.
He sent more than 600 emails containing threats, taunts, sexually suggestive content and obscene images to the woman within a year. The emails were sent from 12 different email accounts, which the man had created to bypass the woman’s spam inbox.
The man also emailed the woman’s colleagues with false claims, threats and insults aimed at ruining her employer’s reputation. At the same time, he flooded the employer’s social media account with posts that mocked the staff of the organisation.
The man also approached the woman’s work collaborators several times in an attempt to reach the woman.
Due to the man’s actions, the woman filed a magistrate’s complaint against him on 13 July 2016. Three months later, both parties reached a settlement agreement where the man agreed to stop contacting the woman directly and indirectly.
However, the man resumed his harassment barely a month later, sending her some 64 emails of the same nature over a month through various accounts.
In the emails, which were often sent late at night or in the wee hours of the morning, the man expressed his desire for the woman and said he did not intend to cease harassing her with emails.
His emails included messages such as, “I see your soul. I don’t see anything else. I am attracted to it like a science experiment reaction” and “I dreamt you ran away with another dude, made me almost angry in my sleep…I am able to rationalise in my unconscious that love is free will, I let you go in my dream when the scenario appeared so real”.
In another email, he said, “It’s a feeling thing, I kinda like writing here and you still feel deep hate. But physically we are distanced. I think proximity hurts and it’s fun and damn psycho to keep writing. A little weird erotic in a way.”
The man attached trackers to the emails so that he would be notified when the woman opened them. He would get a thrill each time he received a notification, unaware that the woman was only opening the emails in order to forward them to the police.
To protect herself, the woman adjusted the timings she left work and asked others to accompany her, for fear that the man might trail her.
The woman has also not been able to perform her work duties due to the adverse impact on her reputation from the episode, said the prosecution.
She still fears for her safety and privacy until today, Deputy Public Prosecutor Grace Chua told the court.
The man, who was diagnosed with mixed anxiety and depressive disorder sometime in 2016, broke his settlement conditions and was charged in court on 27 October last year.
Two days after he was charged, he sent two emails to the woman asking to be “let off the hook” and later requesting that the woman forget the first email.
Seeking a three-month jail term for the man, lawyer Sunil Sudheesan said that the man sent the emails as a “misguided attempt at managing (his) tensions”.
The emails sent at the end of 2016 were a “mechanism” for the man to manage his emotions as he was still affected by what he perceived to be a “sudden and inexplicable break down of his relationship” with the woman.
The prosecution sought a six-month jail term, arguing that the man used the woman as a stress outlet without any regard to her wellbeing.
DPP Chua said that the man showed a disregard for the court’s authority as he had emailed the woman even after the settlement and being charged in court.
In sentencing the man, District Judge Imran Hamid noted that online stalking is “as insidious as physical stalking”.
For causing harassment, the man could have been given a jail term of up to 12 months or a fine or both.