'Obsessive' stalker camped in garden of victim who was 'too scared to get out of bed'

Connor Parker
·3-min read
Robert Biddle stalked his victim for two years. (SWNS)
Robert Biddle stalked his victim for two years. (SWNS)

An "obsessive" stalker who went as far as pitching a tent in his victim's garden and spending the night there has been jailed.

Robert Biddle, 49, stalked the woman over the course of two years to the point that she was afraid to even get out of bed.

The pair first met in 2009 but did not see each other again until 2018, when she returned home to find him sitting at her kitchen table making a cup of tea.

Police attended the scene and removed Biddle but this did not deter him from continuing to abuse his victim.

Leeds Crown Court heard Biddle would turn up at her house in West Yorkshire up to four times a week saying he had brought her gifts.

The court was told he would walk into her house if the door was unlocked and bang on the door if he could not get in, which would wake the victim's daughter.

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On 4 September last year, Biddle pitched a tent in her garden and spent the night there, which is when the woman reported him to the police.

Appearing in court on Monday, the defendant - who denied stalking - was sentenced to 30 months behind bars.

Prosecutor Robert Stevenson told the court about the effects of Biddle's offending.

He said: "She has felt extremely stressed and anxious. It has affected her day to day life.

"There were days when she could not get out of bed through fear.

"She struggled to sleep, suffered from nightmares and would wake up screaming.

"She was also scared for her daughter's welfare."

The jury at Leeds Crown Court heard how Biddle stalked his victim. (Getty)
The jury at Leeds Crown Court heard how Biddle stalked his victim. (Getty)

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The prosecutor added: "He started telling her how much he loved her and wanted to be her man."

On one occasion Biddle tried to hug her and she had to punch him to get him away from her.

Mr Stevenson said: "She decided that she had had far too much of this behaviour and that's when she decided to report things to the police."

Biddle's defence said he had never used or threatened violence towards the victim.

Judge Neil Clark added: "Your behaviour became so intrusive that she was afraid to get out of bed.

"That she was so afraid is understandable, given you were so obsessive.

"I am afraid this behaviour was so persistent and had such a detrimental impact on the complainant that only an immediate custodial sentence can be justified."

There has been a recent rise in the number of reported cases of stalking as charities warned bored men stuck at home have been using their extra time to harass women.

The Metropolitan Police recently said there had been a more than 300% increase in stalking reports in London during the pandemic amid a change in how such crimes were recorded.

Chief executive of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust Suky Bhaker said perpetrators were using permitted reasons to leave the house, like for exercise, as an excuse to follow victims or loiter outside their homes.

Shadow Home Office minister Sarah Jones said last month the number of stalking and harassment offences recorded by police has more than doubled in four years.

She said: "We know that this is literally the tip of the iceberg as most women do not report street harassment."