Stalker's 'descent into confusion' left ex fearful

THE death of his son may have been the trigger for a man to stalk and menace his former wife - a decade after the marriage ended.

The 62-year-old man went before Ipswich Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to stalking his former wife; causing a disturbance at an education centre (school); using a carriage service to menace and harass; contravening a domestic violence protection order; assault; possession of weapons; obstructing police; and failing to attend court.

Police prosecutor Jack Scott said the stalking occurred during five months, with the man leaving handwritten notes and voice messages at his former wife's home.

Mr Scott said messages were at first benign but escalated to being abusive and derogatory, the man even saying he was "King David and would sling a rock to see where it hits...", in reference to the victim's tall partner, and also stating "I'll cut him down like a big tree of timber".

Mr Scott said the man was married to the woman for a short time. The marriage ended in 2008 but they didn't divorce until 2018.

He said the context of the offending was quite concerning and distressing.

"The message was very clear to her, that she had every right to fear for her safety," he said.

"In this time during 2017 and 2018, her life was torn apart. She became fearful for her safety as his behaviour escalated; it was unusual and bizarre."

Becoming fearful for her family, the woman had to find emergency accommodation for two weeks and had to take time off work.

The family installed a new security back-to-base system at their home and changed phone numbers several times.

The man had been diagnosed with mental health disorders including bipolar and spent 285 days in custody in a mental health facility at Wacol.

The man's defence lawyer tended psychiatric and medical reports, saying he was now stable and held in a low security unit at secure mental health facility under a Treatment Authority.

"He is in some confusion as to how he was able to write such messages," the lawyer said.

"There was a trigger event. The death of his son in a car crash in September 2017... seems to have been a progressive descent into confusion."

The lawyer said when the man went into a school near Toowoomba there was no violence although he was shouting and there was a fracas.

He was now on high dosage medication and stabilised and there would be a need for him to be supervised when released.

Magistrate Virginia Sturgess said the man's offending included threats to get a gun and shoot another son. When police arrived, he was belligerent and obstructive.

He'd also gone on to threaten to shoot a workshop manager at a motorcycle business, falsely accusing him of stealing his car.

Ms Sturgess said the stalking included going to a shopping centre where the former wife was, leaving letters signed "your loving husband", and telephoning her 50 times over a few days.

His derogatory messages had been distressing, leaving his former wife feeling humiliated and fearful.

His significant mental health issues were highlighted when a school went into lockdown after his behaviour on entering a school. .

Ms Sturgess said it was now important a degree of reassurance was felt by the people affected by his behaviours.

Ms Sturgess made a five-year protection order to March 2024 that the man was prohibited from contacting his former wife and her family.

He was fined $800 for using a carriage service to menace/harass, and $350 for failing to attend court.