Eastenders star speaks of safety fears as stalker is sentenced
The actress was left scared in her own home after finding a stalker outside the property, a court has heard.
Peter Rombough, 22, from Ditchingham, Norfolk, pleaded guilty to travelling 93 miles to Samantha Womack, who plays Ronnie Mitchell in the soap, at her Bedfordshire home.
He appeared before Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court for sentencing on Monday and was given an eight-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months.
In a statement read to the court, mother-of-two Mrs Womack said she now felt nervous when she was in the house on her own and feared for the safety of her children.
After finding Rombough outside in September last year, the police and BBC organised extra security to protect the actress, the court heard.
She added: "These events have had a massive impact.
"I can't stop thinking about it. He's a total stranger but I'm concerned about his well-being and do hope he is okay and needs to seek some help."
She added she had been reluctant to contact the police as she feared Rombough may harm himself but felt it was necessary to protect her family and prevent anybody else being stalked.
Prosecutor Josephine Jones said Rombough first went looking for the property in May but could not find the house. He went to the property again on September 3.
"The defendant's fixation would appear to have got the better of him when he delivered a letter," she added.
On September 10, Mrs Womack saw a light outside her house in the early hours and her husband, Mark, went to investigate.
He found Rombough sitting on a wall and asked him to leave but CCTV cameras showed he remained in the vicinity.
In the rambling letter, Rombough said he feared he "couldn't deal with the consequences" of rejection by Mrs Womack.
He added: "I do harbour some sort of love for you - I can't live with that regret and the fact any other woman is second best to you.
"I could go to a really dark place where you are concerned."
He went on to say he did not mean any harm adding that Mrs Womack was "one of the last people on the planet I want to hurt".
Rombough later posted an apology on Twitter, saying: "I never meant to cause upset. I am very sorry."
He added: "I never wanted it to go this far. I am so sorry, have a nice life, you won't see me again."
The court heard he admitted his fantasies about Mrs Womack had started when he was 16. He told police he had an unhealthy crush on her.
Nicola Burt, mitigating, said he should be sentenced on the circumstances of the offence and not the fame of his victim.
"He accepts his actions were wrong and how they impacted the victim," she added.
Presiding magistrate Robin Hornby also made Rombough subject to a two-year restraining order and a mental health programme.
He said: "We must disregard that this was a high profile victim.
"Stalking is stalking and it does not matter who it is: It is not a nice thing."