Friday, 22 December 2017

Husband Planted Tracking Device In Wife's Car To Prove She Was Cheating With Man Off Dating Website Plenty of Fish

A “heartbroken” husband planted a tracking device in his wife’s car to prove she was cheating.

Businessman Andrew Hunter pleaded guilty to a single charge of stalking on December 1 after he planted the bug in the boot to track her movements.

He admitted following her and taking pictures of her when she met another man between April 15 and June 6.

But after switching solicitors his new brief told Teesside Magistrates' Court today that Hunter's actions were those of “a breakdown in marriage” which were unusual to end up in a criminal court.

Lynne Dalton, prosecuting, said Hunter had married his wife in 2012 having been in a relationship with her since 2005, GazetteLive reports.

As mounting debts and other stresses began to take their toll on the relationship, Mrs Dalton said: “He began to control her movements and actions.

“He began insulting her and demeaning her on a daily basis. He ground her down to when she had no self confidence.”

Ms Dalton said the defendant’s former wife had tried to discuss matters with him, only to be ignored.

“In January this year, she signed up to Plenty of Fish,” said Mrs Dalton.

“Part of the site is set aside for people looking for extra marital activity.

“She started chatting to a man.

“By February they had exchanged phone numbers and exchanging messages.

“Shortly after, she was sitting next to Mr Hunter when she received a message.

“He reacted very badly.”

Mrs Dalton said it was only when the defendant was able to follow his wife to Stokesley as she travelled to meet the man she had been messaging, that it was discovered he had been tracking her movements.

Hunter later admitted planting a tracking device in the boot of her car to prove she was having an affair, Mrs Dalton said.

“He sent her multiple texts asking where she was,” she said.

“He said he knew about the other male.

“When he returned home, he tore open her handbag lining and removed a similar item,” she said

“He said it was a listening device which he had placed there and he had been listening to everything she had been doing in the meantime.”

On May 9, Mrs Dalton said Hunter again tracked his wife this time as she travelled to York to meet the man she had been messaging once more.

But Simon Walker, defending, said that, despite his client pleading guilty under the advice of a different solicitor, he disagreed with the Crown’s version of events and was astonished that the case had ever found its way into a criminal court.

“All of what I’ve heard might be explained by a typical breakdown of a marriage,” he said.

“This man has never been in trouble before in his life and never will be again.

“His actions can be explained by the stress and heartbreak of having to go through a marriage breakup.

“He discovered or had suspicions that his wife was having an affair.

“He didn’t confront her violently.

“She repeatedly denied what she was doing even after she had been discovered.

“He was able to effectively disprove what she had to say.

“That’s all this is - the breakdown of a marriage.

“It is unusual to appear in a court of law under these circumstances.”

Mr Walker said when his client had bought the tracking devices online, he had been completely unaware he would be breaking the law by using them.

Claims that Hunter had assaulted his spouse were dismissed at an earlier hearing.

Chairman of the bench George Harpan adjourned the case for a “Newton Hearing” which will resolve the factual issues surrounding the case on February 27.

He granted Hunter conditional bail until then.

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