Man from Westcliff jailed for offences against former girlfriends

2 May 2019, 16:43 | Updated: 2 May 2019, 16:56


A man from Westcliff has been jailed for 12 years after being found guilty of serious domestic related crimes against his former girlfriends.

Robert Preece, 40, of Palmerston Road, had been convicted of stalking, robbery, grievous bodily harm with intent, actual bodily harm, burglary and criminal damage.

He was sentenced today, Thursday, May 2, at Chelmsford Crown Court after he was found guilty of all the offences by a jury on Wednesday, April 10.

He has also been given life-time restraining orders preventing contact with his three victims.

In June 2017, Robert Preece’s former partner was sitting in her car near some shops in Melbourne, Chelmsford, when she was approached by Preece. He then leaned into her window and punched her in the face.

As she attempted to drive off, she was punched in the cheek and suffered a fracture to her right cheek bone and a black eye.

The attack followed her recent ending of her relationship with Preece, who she knew as John Perry.

Following the attack, Preece went into hiding in London before starting a relationship with a second woman in Essex in February 2018 under his false identity.

The relationship only lasted three months before Preece started a campaign of stalking and harassment.

This included sending letters to her home, getting a locksmith to change her locks, attempting to cancel her bank cards and constant messages and calls.

He even installed a letterbox at the home while she was working in abroad to try and intercept her mail and broke into her home through her roof as she slept.

Preece went into hiding a second time and started a relationship with a third woman. In October 2018, he smashed the woman’s car window following an argument and broke into her home.

He assaulted her and took her possessions, including her phone, before being located and arrested.

Investigating Officer Acting Detective Sergeant Gavin Tuck, of the Chelmsford Domestic Abuse Investigation Team, said: “Today a dangerous individual has been jailed for inflicting physical and psychological abuse to women who once welcomed him into their lives.

“Preece lived a lie, creating a false persona before carrying out serious crimes against his former girlfriends.

“The truth was finally revealed when a jury convicted him of his crimes last month and he must face the consequences of his actions by being locked in a prison cell.

“I must once again thank the bravery of all three women. I hope this outcome will offer them some closure and justice.”