Dad bugged Fareham ex-partner’s home

Simon Leonard  Picture: Solent News & Photo Agency

Simon Leonard Picture: Solent News & Photo Agency

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A father placed recording devices in his former partner’s home in a ‘moment of madness’ claiming he wanted to keep a check on his child, a court heard today.

Simon Leonard, 40, ‘used his child’ as a reason to place the devices in his former partner Donna Carroll’s home in Fareham

One of the devices was discovered by a food delivery driver.

The court heard that Leonard, of Battersea, London, had previously parked in front of Miss Carroll’s home, keeping watch over the house.

The spying had left Miss Carroll feeling ‘scared’ and ‘sick with worry’.

In a victim impact statement read at Portsmouth Magistrates Court she said: ‘At the moment I feel scared he is going to come back. I feel if he can do that, he may come back.

‘It makes me feel sick with worry, the fact he was in the house. I am scared he knows where my parents live.

‘I do not want to be at my address anymore.’

One recording device was found in the letter box of Miss Carroll’s home in Fareham, Hants, by a food delivery driver.

The other was discovered the following month in January this year, when Miss Carroll was clearing away her Christmas decorations.

Giles Fletcher, prosecuting, said: ‘The defendant set up recording devices at his ex-partner’s home.

‘He was listening to conversations between her and her friend.

‘A food delivery driver came across this device set up, it seems, in the letter box. They hand it to the complainant and her friend who has been spied upon as well.’

He added: ‘It is a very unpleasant offence.

‘In January when the Christmas decorations were being taken down Miss Carroll found another recording device. Nothing was recorded on it but it is not to say something had not been transmitted.

‘His justification is for wanting to know what was said in her house.

‘He does concede he had parked near to her home address and had been watching people leave at an earlier point.

‘The stalking had been going on for longer than what is in the charges as he admitted in the pre-sentence report.

‘It was planned and thought about, he was buying the devices, obtaining them and placing them in the home.

‘He is using the child as the reason why he has put the devices in place but at the same time he has spied on her.

‘He is using the child to instigate the offence.’

Edward Jackson, defending, said: ‘I think there was a feeling [amongst family] of an unhealthiness in the relationship and they are quite happy that it ended.

‘He did this thing which certainly in terms of the victim is perceived as unforgivable but it displays all the hallmarks of someone that is not thinking rationally. It was a moment of madness.

‘He is now thinking rationally and able to move on.

‘He did not have his head in the right place, now he has, and he sees what he did was stupid and wrong and he has shown full remorse for that.

‘He had concerns about the child who does have a genetic disability, he had concerns about some of his reactions to discipline and a few issues about her planning to change the child’s surname.’

Leonard admitted stalking and a second charge of assault by beating after he barged past Miss Carroll in an attempt to enter the house and get the recording device.

The court heard he later handed himself into the police station but did not tell officers about the second recording device which was found a few weeks later.

Leonard, who is currently unemployed, was sentenced to a 12 month community order in which he must complete a rehabilitation activity requirement of 25 days.

He was also given a 12 month restraining order to stay away from Miss Carroll and her address in Fareham, Hants as well as ordered to pay £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

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