Gloucester policeman in court for stalking ex-girlfriend
A RETIRED policeman who spied on his former partner caused her months of fear and misery.
David Ballard, who was a civilian worker for Gloucestershire police at the time, stalked Coleen Howard near her home and work and followed her car numerous times, Cheltenham Magistrates heard.
Mobile phone records showed Ballard, of Barnwood, had been near her home in the early hours of the morning and, after she complained, he ignored repeated warnings from police to stop his actions.
In a victim statement, Mrs Howard told the court the stalking had left her ill, depressed and helpless.
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Members of her family said his actions had been 'horrible'.
They hated being at home alone and would have to make sure all the windows and doors were locked and the blinds drawn.
And when they went out, they were always looking out for him.
Ballard, 56, of Colin Road, admitted 10 charges of stalking Mrs Howard and her family near their home in Up Hatherley, causing them alarm and distress.
He was given an 18-week prison sentence suspended for two years.
Prosecutor Peter Ashby said Ballard would only admit to stalking Mrs Howard about 10 times, but police had evidence he had done so at least 27 times.
He said the former policeman and Mrs Howard had been involved in an affair until 2009 but it had broken up acrimoniously.
"In 2010, he was given a police information notice about his behaviour towards Mrs Howard and in 2011 there were a number of incidents when he drove past her home and place of work, and tried to contact her," Mr Ashby said.
"She took out a county court injunction against him but in 2012 their relationship started again. It did not last long and did not end on good terms."
Mrs Howard then contacted police and told them she and her family were being harassed and Ballard was given another police information notice, when it was made clear he must stop his behaviour, Mr Ashby said.
Mrs Howard then saw him following her car along the Brockworth bypass, and when members of her family went to see her at work, they saw him in a nearby car park.
Police started an investigation and in March this year and analysis of Ballard's phone records showed that he had been near Mrs Howard's home on many occasions – more times than she had reported to police.
On one occasion, Mr Ashby said, he was seen driving towards the house by a Detective Constable who tried to stop him.
"He drove into a cul-de-sac and mounted the pavement to avoid the officer as he drove out," he said.
But he was stopped nearby and in the car his mobile phone and a pair of binoculars were found.
Susan Ellis, defending, said Ballard made no threats of violence towards Mrs Howard or her family and there had been no direct contact.
"Mr Ballard is of previous good character and it is likely after this case that he will be dismissed from his job with the police," she went on.
"He has lost his good character and is extremely ashamed of his behaviour. He is also extremely remorseful."
Passing sentence, Chairman of the bench Stephen Bajdala-Brown said the threshold for a custodial sentence had been passed but it would be suspended because of Ballard's previous good character.
The court also imposed a supervision order for 12 months and an indefinite restraining order banning Ballard from contacting Mrs Howard or her family in any way, and also banning him from a large area around her home.
Mr Bajdala-Brown said: "If you do not comply with this order, you should be in no doubt as to what the consequences will be."
Ballard was also ordered to pay £80 victim surcharge and £85 costs.