Suffolk: Police Officer Given Restraining Order For Harassment

9 July 2013, 07:55 | Updated: 9 July 2013, 13:50

A female detective said she felt like a prisoner in her own home after a jealous police sergeant from Suffolk subjected her to two months of harassment when their relationship broke down.

Detective sergeant Panicos Monk, a highly commended officer who served in Suffolk Police's investigation management unit, left his wife and children to begin a relationship with detective constable Petrina Webb in 2009 after they met at the force's Martlesham headquarters, Norwich Magistrates' Court heard.

But when their three-year relationship ended, he launched a campaign of harassment beginning on Valentine's Day this year.

Over two months, he sent her almost 200 abusive text, Facebook and email messages, prosecutor Ben Brighouse said.

Suspecting she had met somebody else, he hacked her account on the social networking site to spy on her.

On one occasion he pulled his car in front of hers, forcing her to stop on a busy road, the court heard.

She locked herself in the vehicle and when a member of the public came to her aid, Monk showed his warrant card and told them there was nothing wrong.

Eventually she managed to drive to safety at police headquarters.

Afterwards Miss Webb became suspicious that Monk was following her in his car.

Monk, 44, of Church Road, Bedfield, Suffolk, admitted harassment without violence and was given a 24-month community order and ordered to attend a programme to improve his behaviour in relationships.

He was also made subject to a three-year restraining order and must pay Miss Webb #500 in compensation .

The officer, who previously served in the Navy and had received numerous commendations during his 19-year police career, will now face disciplinary action after being suspended by Suffolk Police.

In a statement read to the court, Miss Webb said: "When I realised he had been silently monitoring my private emails and Facebook accounts, I went cold.

"I hadn't thought to change my password when we separated and, although I had nothing to hide, nobody wants to be spied on like that.

"I feel like a prisoner in my own home and felt compelled to take measures to improve my security.

"I park my car as close to the door as possible and have had my door locks changed.

"I leave my lights on at night and take an alarm to bed with me. I can't go out walking alone in my own village.''

The stress became so bad that Miss Webb was signed off work for seven weeks and is still undergoing therapy, magistrates were told.

Emma Collins, mitigating, said that the pair had a ``toxic'' on-off relationship.

She added that Monk was "totally devastated and mortified'' by the prosecution.

"This is particularly devastating for Mr Monk and will have a detrimental impact on his employment,'' she added.

"This is a man who acted totally inappropriately but out of desperation.''

Passing sentence, magistrate Trevor Freeborn said: "This is a serious offence over a prolonged period.

"Relationships have two sides but we are concerned with the effect on this victim.''