September 15 2014 Latest news:
Peter Walsh, Crime correspondent
Saturday, May 3, 2014
A serving Norfolk police officer harassed his former partner and used his police computers to trace the address of her new boyfriend, a court has heard.
After the break-up of the relationship Matthew Blake, a policeman for 13 years, embarked upon a conduct of behaviour which made his ex-partner feel she was being watched.
Between February 1 and July 31 last year Blake, who had left the home he had shared with his partner and their child, began to send text messages which the victim felt were about “control” and “isolation”.
Blake, of Taverham Road, Taverham, appeared at Norwich Crown Court yesterday to be sentenced after previously admitting an offence of harassment and another of threatening behaviour.
Jude Durr, prosecuting, said the text messages were not offensive but were asking about what she was doing, with a lot of them coming at night when he knew she would be at home or socialising while he was on duty.
He would also regularly drive past her house while on duty.
On April 9 last year a woman friend and a man stayed at his former partner’s property. The man was awoken by “lights of a car outside”.
The following morning Blake, who was being given information about when the man’s car was at the property, returned and confronted the man, telling him him: “I will rip you apart if you come near the house”.
Mr Durr said it was absolutely clear that as well as visiting his former partner’s home he used Norfolk Constabulary computer information to trace the home address of the man and made visits to that address while his partner was visiting.
In another incident after April 10 last year the victim’s home had been entered and her bed sheets disturbed which Mr Durr said was a “calculated” act by the defendant to make her feel uneasy.
Michael Clare, mitigating, said Blake regretted what happened. He said there was no suggestion the text messages were designed to cause distress.
He said it was perfectly apparent the defendant was upset someone else had moved into the home he was paying for and under the same roof as his child.
In terms of the threatening behaviour he said no violence or weapons were used adding he was “exceptionally sorry for letting himself down, letting his emotions get the better of him”.
Mr Clare said Blake was also battling illness, and had a further biopsy next week.
Sentencing Blake to two months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, Judge Katharine Moore said relationship breakdowns were always upsetting but said the defendant, more than most, knew there was a “proper and lawful way to behave”.
Judge Moore said Blake had abused his position as a police officer which, after some 13 years, she said was “no doubt a personal tragedy”.
She said: “There are aggravating features because of your position and employment and you abused that.”
Blake was also ordered to undertake 12 months supervision and made the subject of a two year restraining order in relation to his former partner and the male.
PC Blake was suspended from duty during the duration of the investigation by Norfolk Constabulary’s Professional Standards Department. He remains suspended and will now be the subject of an internal disciplinary process.
Detective Inspector Phill Gray from the Professional Standards Department, said: “Public confidence in the police depends on those serving with us demonstrating the highest level of personal and professional behaviour. The Constabulary will continue to robustly investigate any allegations of criminal conduct by its employees.”