A stalker who left his ex-girlfriend "living in fear" has been spared jail by a judge who ruled he had "felt used" after spending so much money on her.
Stephen Wall, 50, started stalking Sherry Ashby weeks after she broke up with him in March last year, Warwick Crown Court heard.
Wall had spent thousands of pounds on 46-year-old Ashby during their three-and-a-half-year relationship.
He loaned her £160,000 to help her launch her boutique cafe business in Warwick town centre, gave her a £33,000 Land Rover Discovery and paid her a £2,000-a-month allowance.
When Ashby ended the relationship in March last year, she obtained a non-molestation order against Wall.
However, he breached it by repeatedly driving past her cafe and bombarding her with WhatsApp messages.
He also hired men to turn up at her home to “repossess” the Land Rover and on one occasion, tore-up £50 notes before throwing them at her while she sat in traffic.
Wall, of Hampton-in-Arden, West Midlands, admitted stalking and two charges of breaching a non-molestation order at Warwick Crown Court.
But he was spared jail and instead handed a 12-month community order and ordered to take part in a rehabilitation order.
During the sentence on Friday, Recorder Balraj Bhatia QC said Wall had acted “out of character”, telling him: “You no doubt felt used.”
He said: “I accept you are a man of positive good character, decent, caring and well-respected and running a very successful business.
"It seems it was quite an intense relationship. You gave freely of your time and your affection, and you reflected your commitment to Ashby by investing a significant amount of money so she could realise her ambition.
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“That gives you no greater right in terms of your expectations or returns from your partner, but they do give an explanation for why you behaved as out of character as you did. You no doubt felt used.”
Graeme Simpson, prosecuting, said the relationship had grown "tempestuous" towards the end.
He also said Wall breached the non-molestation order several times and “repeatedly changed his WhatsApp profile picture, which had the effect of sending her notifications".
On 3 June, Ashby was in her Land Rover on the A46 near Coventry when she saw Wall’s car ahead of her, so slowed down.
Simpson said: “Because of a traffic tailback they ended up alongside each other – and he pointedly tore up £50 notes and threw them from his car as a gesture to her."
The prosecutor also said Ashby saw some men outside her home later that month, with one saying: "I’m repossessing your car. I have a warrant. The police are on their way.”
But Lee Marklew QC, defending, said the court hearing was "acutely embarrassing" for Wall.
“At one time he loved Sherry Ashby, and he felt morally aggrieved at the way, in his eyes, she treated him over what should happen with the Botanics coffee shop after they parted," Marklew said.
He added that Wall was “exasperated and at times indignant about her attitude towards what he had done for her".
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