'You are walking dead': Sunderland stalker jailed after 'relentless' behaviour towards estranged wife

A stalker who warned his long-suffering victim "you are walking dead" has been put behind bars.

Friday, 21st December 2018, 15:00 pm
Updated Friday, 21st December 2018, 15:03 pm
Paul Hepple

Paul Hepple has "relentlessly" pestered his estranged wife after their 26-year relationship came to an end over two years ago.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 40-year-old's persistent behaviour led to him being given a restraining order for harassment in March last year.

Since then, he has repeatedly broken the terms of the order and been taken to court - and has now been jailed for the 11th breach.

Judge Robert Moore has sentenced Hepple to 11 months behind bars and told him: "For the last two years you have worn down your ex-partner of 26 years with relentless behaviour, totally ignoring court orders."

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Hepple, of Osman Close, Sunderland, had admitted stalking and three breaches of the restraining order.

Prosecutor Michael Bunch told the court: "There have been repeated problems, which have necessitated involvement with the police."

The court heard on September 4, Hepple had approached his former wife as she got into her car.

Mr Bunch said: "He told her 'it's your fault we broke up' and 'it's your fault I went to jail'.

"She saw the defendant pointing at her saying 'I'm going to kill you'. He was repeating that over and over while she drove off."

Over the following weeks, Hepple turned up at his victim's home with presents for the family and turned up at her work while drunk.

On September 26 he went to her home, while she was with her new partner, and warned "you are walking dead" while threatening he would get inside the house.

The victim said in a statement: "I feel I can't get on with my own life.

"I feel harassed and distressed by this. I am constantly on edge."

Mr Bunch added: "She genuinely believed his threats to kill or harm her were genuine."

The victim said she was worry the threat would be increased by him finding out she had moved on with a new partner.

Matthew Crowe, defending, said Hepple has severe alcohol use disorder and has led a "chaotic" lifestyle since the relationship broke down and he lost his job.

Mr Crowe added: "He doesn't remember terribly much about the offences due to his condition.

"He does, through me, say he didn't want his kids to think he didn't care, that's why he was trying to pass presents over.

"He is aware he needs to address this cycle."