Public servant’s double life as jealous stalker
A JILTED public servant who flew back and forth between Canberra and Darwin to stalk a former partner ruined his victim's life and was driven by "jealousy, anger and his desire for some form of revenge", a court has heard.
Paul Anthony Bennett, 54, appeared in the Darwin Supreme Court on Tuesday where barrister Mary Chalmers, prosecuting, said Bennett's conduct was "certainly the most severe case of stalking I have come across in my career".
Bennett, of Campbell in the Australian Capital Territory, in March pleaded guilty to 12 offences including using a carriage service to harass, aggravated stalking, aggravated unlawful entry, stealing, property damage, and distributing intimate images.
Ms Chalmers told the court Bennett's offending was not provoked or escalated by anything his victim had done.
"She commenced a relationship and she ended the relationship, as she was entitled to do," Ms Chalmers said.
The victim's identity is suppressed.
Bennett met his victim on a dating site in 2016 and flew to Darwin within days to meet her, but in 2017 the department of home affairs staffer confided in her he had been convicted of stalking in Canberra.
Within weeks, the woman told Bennett their relationship was over, prompting a barrage of phone calls and text messages that marked the start of months of stalking.
Among the most serious aspects of Bennett's offending was December 2017 break-in at the woman's apartment, during which he stole a ring and underwear and graffitied vile slogans inside the apartment, including "mummy is a sl*t" and "mum f*cks loud".
Bennett also filmed the woman and her new partner naked inside his house
Defence lawyer Matt Hubber said his client needed to be treated to deal with his psychological issues.
"The court can only lock him up for so long," he said.
"He has been extradited, locked up, remanded and he's been properly prosecuted for this offence."
He said his client wanted to return to the ACT.
When Justice Peter Barr said a jail sentence with a non-parole period could see him apply for an interstate transfer, Mr Hubber said: "Returning to the ACT as a prisoner is not really what I had in mind".
He said Bennett agreed to paying more than $30,000 in restitution to the woman, including for rent she had to pay when she moved out of her apartment in fear in the early months of a lease, and for hefty a hefty legal bill she racked relating to Bennett's conduct.
Justice Barr will sentence Bennett in August.