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Jailed: East Ham stalker who bombarded victim with 'aggressive and sexually explicit' messages

PUBLISHED: 07:50 12 August 2019 | UPDATED: 13:08 13 August 2019

Andrew Costa-Freeman from East Ham was jailed for two years after admitting to stalking involving serious alarm or distress, and breaching a restraining order. Picture: MPS

Andrew Costa-Freeman from East Ham was jailed for two years after admitting to stalking involving serious alarm or distress, and breaching a restraining order. Picture: MPS

Archant

A stalker who bombarded a woman with "aggressive and sexually explicit" messages has been jailed.

Andrew Costa-Freeman, of Lonsdale Avenue, East Ham, met his victim through mutual friends in 2015.

At first they got on well, exchanging messages through WhatsApp, but when the 24-year-old said he had feelings for her, the woman, in her mid-20s, asked him to stop contacting her.

But he ignored her and continued sending messages for years.

The victim ignored them at first but then contacted police who issued Costa-Freeman with an harassment warning in March 2019.

However, Costa-Freeman told the victim days later that he would keep sending messages despite the warning, which he did using Facebook Messenger.

He was then arrested and charged with stalking involving fear of violence appearing at East London Magistrates' Court on March 29 where he received a suspended sentence and restraining order.

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But this still did not stop him. Over five days in May he set up different Facebook Messenger user accounts to evade the victim's attempts to block him sending more than 520 messages, some of which were aggressive and sexually explicit.

He was charged again and pleaded guilty to stalking involving serious alarm or distress, and breach of a restraining order at East London Magistrates' Court on May 31.

Costa-Freeman was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court to two years imprisonment on Thursday, August 8.

Det Insp Lee Barnard, the Met's lead officer at the Stalking Threat Assessment Centre, said: "This case is another example of how devastating an impact stalking has on the lives of those targeted. It is an unwarranted intrusion, and victims are left to feel vulnerable, distressed and threatened.

"Victims of these offences sometimes feel that they have no control of the situation, and often don't know where to turn and when to seek help.

"The Met takes all stalking allegations very seriously, and the sooner we know, the sooner we can act and deal with the perpetrator, and provide the necessary support to those affected."

If you think you are being stalked, or you know someone who is, contact police on 101 or 999 if you are in immediate danger.

You can also call the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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