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

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

Saturday, 7th September 2019, 4:00 pm
Portsmouth Crown Court. Picture: Csar Moreno Huerta

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’.

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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Portsmouth Crown Court. Picture: Csar Moreno Huerta

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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.’

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.