A STALKER who sent hundreds of unwanted messages to his former partner has narrowly avoided spending Christmas behind bars.

Robert Evans had admitted stalking involving fear of violence when he appeared in court last month, and magistrates had indicated the offence was so serious it potentially crossed the prison threshold – but they chose not to jail the 45-year-old yesterday.

His victim's personal statement was read out in which she said the offences had made her reach the “end of her tether”, losing her hair and making her feel suicidal.

Roger Bleazard, prosecuting at Worcester Magistrates Court yesterday, said at the height of the offending the 45-year-old sent 213 messages over two days.

Mr Bleazard explained that Evans and the victim had been in a relationship but she had been trying to leave him for years, managing to finally end it in July and later enter a new relationship.

But the prosecutor said Evans had not accepted the end, and entered into the stalking behaviour that included “unwanted contact” including a number of calls and answerphone messages, and messages over social media, everyday for a period of 11 days between August and September.

Mr Bleazard said Evans, of Canterbury Road in Worcester, had also been seen staying all night in his car outside his ex's house as well as her new boyfriend’s home, contacted her boyfriend’s ex-wife, and that the victim was scared as he had threatened to “smash up her house”.

Mr Bleazard read out the victim personal statement in which the victim said she had told Evans she wanted him to leave her alone.

“He told me ‘I would rather you be dead than be with someone else’,” she said.

“He has always managed to manipulate me to take him back. He contacted my friends and family to get them to convince me to get back with him.

“All the contact is unwarranted. He has no reason to contact me.

“I’m concerned for my safety, and what he is capable of. I still worry about seeing him.”

The victim said she had lost hair due to the stress, and suffered a lack of confidence and self esteem when she was in the relationship.

Mr Bleazard said the stalking offence was introduced relatively recently by the government as the crime was considered a gateway to even more serious offending, and he argued that magistrates may feel this case should be sent to crown court if they felt the justified punishment was beyond their sentencing powers.

Mark Lister, defending, stressed that Evans had only one previous conviction so was not “habitually in this court”.

Mr Lister said: “As is always the case, in these cases, there is a risk someone does not get it (the relationship is over).

“The behaviour was wholly inappropriate, he accepts that.

“If you feel it does cross the custody threshold, this is a sentence that can and should be suspended. The consequences of immediate custody would be devastating.”

Mr Lister said Evans had entered into a new relationship and although it was at an early stage, Evans had made sure the new partner knew about the court proceedings.

Mr Lister urged magistrates to give Evans a community order, which was recommended in a pre sentence report, adding that there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation as “he is beginning to understand the consequences of his actions.”

After 14 minutes of deliberation, magistrates told Evans he had “come close” to receiving a custodial sentence, but spared him prison.

Evans was instead given a 24-month community order including 60 rehabilitation days, 30 ‘building better relationship’ sessions and was banned from the Imperial Tavern, Worcester.

He was given a restraining order, which magistrates warned was likely to be indefinite, that prevented contact with the victim, members of her family, and her new partner, and prevented him from entering a number of city centre locations.

Evans was also ordered to pay costs of £185 and a victim surcharge of £90 – a total of £275, which is to be paid at a rate of £5 a week.

READ MORE: Worcester dealers trade insults about mothers and homosexuality

READ MORE: Persistent offender Carl Bainbridge is back in court for theft