Man sentenced for stalking and coercive and controlling behaviour
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The victim of a stalker has spoken about the "earth-shattering" ordeal she went through and urges others to speak out and seek support.
The fixated behaviour of 39-year-old Gavin Eyles has been described by police as "despicable", after his controlling behaviour over a prolonged period of time caused the victim a significant amount of harm and distress.
He has now been banned from the county and contacting the victim after a restraining order was granted in court earlier this week.
Eyles, who previously lived in Chippenham, Wiltshire admitted coercive and controlling behaviour and stalking the victim.
He had controlled the victim to the extent where she had to ask permission before doing daily tasks such as having a shower or deciding what she could wear.
After their relationship ended he then continued to try and make unwanted contact with her, and on one occasion he hid in the victim's cupboard in her home.
While on remand in prison, Eyles then phoned the victim 128 times.
He was sentenced at Gloucester Crown Court on Tuesday to two years and eight months in prison and made subject of a ten-year restraining order to not contact the victim. He is also prohibited from entering Gloucestershire.
Due to time already spent in custody on remand he is due to be released from prison in due course.
Following the sentence, the victim said: "This whole experience, although earth-shattering, has taught me many things in regards to stalking and its effects.
"Stalking is not just someone stood under a light outside your house, it's small subtle events such as texts, calls, flowers at your door, streaming sites you watch being hacked and monitored. It's invasive and scary. It can involve ex-partners but also neighbours or work colleagues or strangers.
"Without reporting it I feel so many others experiencing stalking can become lost, confused and unsure if they are at risk, feeling they won’t be believed or taken seriously. But believe me they will.
"There are amazing people working hard to stop these actions and too many people have been hurt for this not to be taken seriously. If anyone, for any reason, feels they are ever not safe or something isn’t right I implore them to speak out. The more awareness of this there is, the more chance these individuals can be stopped and people can be safe."
Detective Inspector Angela Middlewood said: "Eyles' persistent and obsessive behaviour was a controlling form of abuse.
"His despicable actions caused a significant amount of distress and harm to the victim, and I would like to commend her for her courage and continued strength throughout what has been a horrific ordeal.
"It's not flattering to be harassed or stalked, it's unwanted and unwarranted behaviour that causes fear. These actions can have a devastating impact, and cause lasting emotional and psychological harm to a person.
"I hope that the outcome of this case and restraining order will offer the victim some closure and reassurance.
"We work with partner agencies who can offer victims of stalking further guidance and continued support. We're hopeful that prosecutions like this will encourage other stalking victims not to suffer in silence, and reassure them that the police and partner agencies take all such allegations extremely seriously."
Throughout the investigation and court process the victim has been supported by an Independent Stalking Advocacy Caseworker (ISAC). In Gloucestershire there is a multi-agency approach to tackling stalking in order for agencies to work together and understand the motivation behind behaviour and the risk posed.
The Independent Stalking Advocacy Caseworker (ISAC) for Gloucestershire said: "I have witnessed first-hand the impact this man's coercive behaviour has had on the victim – it's affected every area of her life.
"I am in awe of the way she has patiently and consistently continued to report Eyles’ unwanted contact to the police; the way she has given statements to officers every time there has been a new incident of stalking; the way she has given her time and energy to engaging with the criminal justice system – which at times has been extremely challenging.
"This whole process has been exhausting for her but she believes in justice and in standing up for what is right. She was prepared to give evidence in court in front of a man who has terrified her.
"As a result of her bravery and tenacity, Eyles has finally been convicted of coercive control and stalking. He pleaded guilty to these offences due to the evidence against him.
"These convictions are now on his record - it means any other woman who may consider entering a relationship with Eyles can be aware of his history and make an informed choice by making a Clare’s Law application. This is a scheme which allows the police to disclose information to someone if they are believed to be at risk of domestic abuse – friends and family can also make an application."
Always report stalking and harassment as soon as possible and tell other people what's happening. You can report this online by visiting https://www.gloucestershire.police.uk/ or by calling 101. In an emergency always call 999.
The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme gives any member of the public the right to ask the police if their partner may pose a risk to them. It is often called 'Clare's Law' after the landmark case that led to it.