A terrifying stalker who "terrorised" his former partner by using work colleagues and fictitious characters has been jailed.

Charles Vance, of Stag Lane in Chorleywood, was sentenced to two years and four months behind bars for conspiracy to stalk involving fear of violence at St Albans Crown Court last Friday (May 10).

The 43-year-old, who pretended to be a victim of the same stalker and reported fictitious characters to the police, was sentenced to a further eight months imprisonment for perverting the course of justice, to run concurrently. He was also given a five-year restraining order not to contact the victim.

Between April, 23, 2022, and January 28, 2023, the victim was hounded by hundreds of texts and phone calls, which included violent threats.

She was also subjected to messages threatening to get her child pregnant and sent death threats from 'Hannah'. 

Unbeknown to the victim, a tracker was planted on her car, which was used to monitor her movements and terrorise her further.

The court heard that on February 5, 2022, a lighter was posted through her letterbox. On February 8, 2022, white lilies symbolising death were delivered to her address. Offensive language was written in graffiti on her car on March 4, 2022, and her car windows were smashed on April 2, 2022.

Vance enlisted work colleagues Sean Kellard, 32, of Newton Road, Newbury; Ryan Burton, 25, of Mount Pleasant Lane in Bricket Wood, St Albans and David Black, 30, of Anglefield Road, Caversham in Reading, to continue terrorising his victim.

Herts Advertiser: Sean Kellard.Sean Kellard. (Image: Herts police)

Kellard, sentenced to 21 months in jail, was paid by Vance to make numerous phone calls to the victim pretending to be 'Hannah’s brother'. In these calls, Kellard was threatening and told the victim he was sitting on a bench outside her address waiting for her.

Burton, sentenced to 18 months in jail, suspended for two years, 200 hours of unpaid work and a curfew between 9pm and 6am for three months, was responsible for smashing her car windows on April 2, 2022, making her car undriveable, and making phone calls to the victim in which he played noises from horror films. He received no separate penalty for the criminal damage.

Black, who was handed a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years and 200 hours of unpaid work, planned messages to be sent to the victim, sent lilies to the victim, and purchased a tracker to put on her car.

Summing up the case, Mr Recorder Butler said: "This was nothing less than a persistent and brutal assault on the life and wellbeing of the victim.

"To put it bluntly, you all terrorised her and her children. I will not attempt to summarise what she said, because to do so would not do justice to the true extent of the horror she suffered.

"It is simply worth observing that the defendants’ actions caused her serious harm, physical and mental, and had, and is still having, a profound effect on her day-to-day life."

Detective Constable Tilly Andrews added: "This was a really terrifying case for the victim who was fearful for her and her children’s lives.

"This was a particularly complex case because Vance created fictitious characters to conceal the defendants’ identities.

"'Hannah' was created as a fictitious ex-partner of the victims’ partner at the time and 'Hannah’s brother' was created as a fictitious character of 'Hannah'. Vance also reported offences of stalking to us to divert attention away from him being the perpetrator, a lie he told very convincingly.

"The acts of these four defendants are truly shocking. The victim was incredibly courageous throughout this horrific ordeal and the prolonged investigation which followed. She is pleased they have been sentenced. I hope she will be able to start rebuilding her life.

"Safeguarding a victim is always our top priority. If you are experiencing stalking or domestic abuse, please report it. Stalking can affect every part of your life and can lead to more serious threats. We are here to help and have a dedicated Domestic Abuse and Investigation and Safeguarding Unit."