Fareham man’s tireless tormenting made his estranged wife think she was ‘going mad’

CLAIRE Fortune thought she was ‘going mad’ after a psychological campaign of torture from her estranged husband.

By Steve Deeks
Thursday, 31st October 2019, 7:43 am
Portsmouth Crown Court. Picture: Csar Moreno Huerta
Portsmouth Crown Court. Picture: Csar Moreno Huerta

Mark Fortune launched into a tireless onslaught on his wife after she ended their marriage last December.

Unable to accept his marriage was over, Fortune promised his erstwhile partner: ‘I will haunt you every day of your life.’

The 43-year-old mortgage broker was true to his word as he embarked on a vengeful spree after evicting his former partner from the matrimonial house in Locks Heath, Fareham, with the campaign reaching its peak in May and June of this year.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard how Fortune would leave his former partner perplexed and ‘terrified’ after randomly turning up at places where she had visited.

Fortune’s calculated ‘punishment’ of his ex also involved a bombardment of messages threatening her, attempts at hacking her phone and Facebook accounts, as well as warning her he would put an intimate video of the pair on YouTube.

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Prosecutor Richard Mandel told the court: ‘It is a very unhappy case where the relationship appeared to be fine until Mr Fortune started using prescription medication for his ADHD which had an unfortunate effect with him becoming withdrawn before the relationship was ended.

‘His criminal conduct came to a head in May when Mrs Fortune made it clear there was no going back. Mr Fortune had hoped of a reconciliation and took it very badly.’

The remorseless tormenting began when Fortune dumped his ex-partner’s belongings outside where she was due to live. 

‘You stole five years of my life all for a house. You faked everything and took everything you could,’ he said in a text message subsequently.

A torrent of messages were routinely served on his victim. ‘No one takes me for a ride. Mission: screw over Claire and make her pay,’ he said in a Whatsapp message.

Another said: ‘I will do anything and everything I can to you. The world as we know it is about to change.’

Events plunged to new depths when Fortune turned up at the house of a man where his estranged wife was.

‘When the man friend came out of the house Mr Fortune asked “are you sleeping with my wife? I’m going to kill you”. He then sped off,’ Mr Mandel said.

The prosecutor added: ‘Mrs Fortune was puzzled how Mr Fortune found out where she was.’

Fortune would then send messages including ‘hope you had a nice day in Gosport’ after finding out she had been to the town, turn up at locations where she was and shout things at her before driving off and leave notes on her car.

‘The fact he knew where she was made her feel sick inside,’ Mr Mandel said.

After calling police, the mystery was solved over how Fortune had been tracking his victim after they found a GPS tracker underneath her car. 

‘She couldn’t believe it. She felt her privacy was violated. But at least she knew she wasn’t going mad,’ Mr Mandel said.

In July police went to his address and arrested him for stalking before he tried to hide a phone which they found concealed on a toilet seat which linked to the GPS tracker on her car.

Mrs Fortune, in her witness statement, said: ‘I thought I was going mad. I missed three days off work as I was too scared to leave the house.

‘My health has been worse with all the stress. I have chest and heart pains. The whole incident left me feeling intimidated.’

Defending, John Lucas, said Fortune’s ‘behaviour improved’ after changing his medication.

Fortune, of Locks Road, admitted a charge of putting a person in fear of violence from stalking.

He was sentenced to 18 months jail suspended for two years, told to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and given an indefinite restraining order not to contact Mrs Fortune.