A dad from Hull who sent a bullet to his ex-wife in a birthday card addressed to his own child during a shocking stalking campaign has been jailed.
Dad-of-three Thomas Shaw, 28, of Woodhall Street, east Hull, has been handed a six-month sentence after stalking the woman, who he shared two children with.
Hull Crown Court heard how during his six-month campaign of terror, Shaw sent notes threatening to take his own life and a child's birthday card containing a bullet inside to the woman's home after she left him.
The court heard their six-and-a-half year "toxic" relationship ended in November 2017 and soon after, from January 2018 Shaw launched a disturbing and relentless campaign to "smear" the woman's reputation and "embarrass" her.
He posted modelling pictures the woman had been paid for onto a Facebook profile and sent links of adult websites to her employer, her partner and his family.
Prosecuting, Phillip Evans told the court Shaw also called the woman repeatedly and left "highly, emotionally charged" voicemail messages begging her to return or he would take his own life.
Last year, Shaw was given a conditional discharge for 12 months at Hull Magistrates' Court after he cut up the woman's jacket.
Mr Evans said: "On the 5th of May, 2018, he sent one of the children a birthday card containing a bullet."
He added that it was a deactivated bullet, but was still "particularly frightening for her and thankfully, the child didn't see the bullet."
The court also heard he approached Hull Live to write an anonymous story about him not being allowed by his ex-partner to see his children - despite contact being offered.
Bravely speaking in court against her tormentor, the woman said how she had to take on a new job due to the embarrassment after his actions.
She said: "I am hoping that when this is all over with, that will be it. He was my husband and all I did was end a bad relationship and when I did, he started punishing me. I want him to know that you cannot do what he has done.
"He was trying to bully me to get back with him and he made me feel wrong for getting out of a relationship that was toxic and that was not right and it's made it harder for me to trust because of his actions."
She described Shaw as "manipulative and intimidating" and now felt more vulnerable and alone because of what he did.
The mum added: "When I started getting visibly distressed I tried to hide it from the children but they still asked why I was crying and they picked up on things. This has affected our whole family. When we were staying with mum I was unable to sleep.
"He shouldn't have put that on my family. I am hoping for some closure so I can start to live a normal life instead of waiting for someone to say he has posted something. It has been exhausting. Emotionally and physically.
"In the last year it has caused me serious upset and has caused me many sleepless nights. I changed my routine in fear he would turn up which I have lived with for a year. I still feel controlled by him and he is still in my life. Whenever I see his name on my phone my anxiety increases.
"I don't go anywhere on my own and when I’m at home on my own, I don’t answer the door.
"Despite being in a relationship and moving out of the house, he won’t let me move on. I only ended a toxic relationship I don’t deserve what he did.”
Mitigating, Harold Bloomfield told the court Shaw had recently become a father again with his new partner and since appearing in the Magistrates court for criminal damage, had not done anything else like the charges brought against him that day.
He said: “He was arrested on the 10th of May, 2018, and was interviewed that day and he made full admissions and wasn’t charged with anything but was brought in on the 4th of June and arrested again after she made a further statement on the 4th of July and nothing happened until the following year when he was summonsed to court.”
Mr Bloomfield told the court it was “equally distressing” for Shaw that it took so long for him to be sentenced, through no fault of his own.
He said: “Both people lost out and it was not only here but the defendant too. He has been waiting for 18 or 19 months for a prosecution that was inevitable but proceedings went at a snail’s pace.
“All that said, he’s a man of good character.”
His honour Judge Mark Bury jailed Shaw for six months.