‘I would rather you be dead than be with someone else.'

Those were the chilling words delivered to Robert Evans' victim - a former girlfriend he was so obsessed with he sent 213 messages in two days. It is a sentence that illustrates the sinister aspect of his controlling behaviour. Not enough for Evans to feel anger - however wrongly - at the relationship's end, but he also sought to blight his ex's hopes of a happy future.

She was left stressed, losing her hair and suffering suicidal thoughts. 'I still worry about seeing him,' she told the court.

Evans has created in her a fear of violence that will linger for a long time - perhaps for ever. Yet he received only a community order - decided within less than a quarter of an hour. Yes, magistrates had to consider Evans had only one previous conviction and was said to be 'beginning' to understand the consequences of his actions. But his victim deserves better.

The relatively new stalking law shows society now takes controlling behaviour towards women more seriously. But, this sentence shows we are still a long way from acting decisively against it.