'frightening' | 

Man who stalked ex partner by climbing up pipe and crawling into her home avoids jail

Nikolajus Afanasenkov received a four-month suspended sentence for targeting the woman in Belfast last summer

Stock photo© Getty Images/fStop

Alan ErwinBelfast Telegraph

A man who stalked his ex-partner by climbing up a pipe and crawling into her home after she locked herself inside has avoided being sent to prison.

Nikolajus Afanasenkov received a four-month suspended sentence for targeting the woman in Belfast last summer.

The judge described it as a "very frightening" incident but acknowledged 61-year-old Afanasenkov's previous clear record.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he had sent a series of unwanted texts to the victim following their separation, despite being asked to stop.

On July 1 last year she was sitting in the back garden of her home in the city when Afanasenkov appeared at the back gate and tried to open it.

Prosecutors said the woman ran into the house, locked the door and went upstairs to the bathroom.

But the defendant climbed up a pipe and crawled in through an open window, causing damage to the frame.

During a struggle in the bathroom he grabbed at her phone, remaining undeterred even when she sprayed something in his face.

Eventually the victim persuaded him to go downstairs and then rang for his daughter to come to the house.

He continued to act aggressively, causing further fear to the woman, before finally leaving the property.

Afanasenkov, of Finn Square in Belfast, was convicted of criminal damage, common assault and stalking offences.

Defence counsel Conn O'Neill stressed: "He's been open and honest about what he's done."

Afanasenkov now fully accepts that his16-year relationship with the victim has ended, the barrister added.

Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer told the defendant: "No doubt this was a very frightening experience for your former partner, to have you climb up a pipe and enter her property in the way you did."

Mr Mateer pointed out that the recently introduced offence of stalking carries a maximum penalty of 12 months imprisonment.

"That shows how seriously the court takes it," he said.

But imposing a four-month term, suspended for three years, the judge added: "Given the absence of offending on your part in the past, the plea of guilty, and the age you have reached in life, I'm not going to require you to serve that prison sentence unless you get in trouble again."

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