Southsea stalker avoids jail after watching woman sleep and stealing her underwear

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AFTER cutting himself a flat key, a 45-year-old man left a woman in ‘distress’ after letting himself in and watching her sleep.

Stuart Cosgrave, of Southsea Terrace, also stole underwear from the woman which he kept in a bag at his house but told police he was ‘going to throw it away’.

Portsmouth Crown Court. Picture: Csar Moreno Huerta

Portsmouth Crown Court. Picture: Csar Moreno Huerta

He pleaded guilty to stalking last month and appeared before Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday for sentencing. 

Prosecutor Jeffrey Lamb told the court about a number of incidents where Cosgrave let himself in to the flat after being given keys for a short amount of time but took a copy for his own use.

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Mr Lamb said: ‘She woke up thinking someone was rubbing her head and found Cosgrave in her bed.’

‘[Another time] she was woken to find Cosgrave at the end of her bed. She also [told police that] she had noticed items of underwear had gone missing. On search of [Cosgrave’s] premises a bag of underwear was found and [the victim] confirmed some of them were hers.’

Daniel Reilly, defending, told Recorder Tom Brown about a recent diagnosis of personality disorder and anxiety and depression issues which had led him to be signed off work.

Mr Reilly said: ‘Mr Cosgrave has said he is remorseful for the distress [caused by] his behaviour.’

Cosgrave was previously cautioned last year for harassment over text messaging. 

During sentencing Recorder Brown said: ‘You must have known [your behaviour] would have caused distress. 

‘You made a copy of the house key in breach of her trust. You denied having cut a key but later admitted that you had. 

‘There is evidence that she has continued to feel unsettled.’

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A two-year restraining order means Cosgrave must not contact the victim or enter Kings Road in Southsea.

He was also sentenced to 40 rehabilitation activity requirement days, fined £120 and a victim surcharge.