Man, 28, stalked and threatened Leyhill prison officer he had dated

A 28-year-old man who stalked and harassed his former lover, a Leyhill Open Prison Officer, has avoided jail.

Jason Pitt from Cheltenham sent blackmail demands, threats, and explicit sexual letters to the parents and employers of his prison officer ex-boyfriend.

Magistrates in Cheltenham heard that Jason Pitt and a Leyhill Open Prison officer had been in a relationship for six months between January and June 2019 but then split up – promoting the campaign of harassment by Pitt.

On November 28, the victim told the police he didn’t want to keep looking over his shoulder all the time and confirmed that his life was being ruined by Pitt.

Lee Mott, defending, told the court at the Christmas Eve hearing: “Pitt has no previous convictions. In his own mind he says he was suffering badly from rejection.

“It was a complicated relationship during which Pitt said he felt constrained and controlled. However with the passage of time he bitterly regrets what he has done. He suffers from a number of mental health issues which have returned during this process.”

District Judge Julia Moffatt said: “It’s the blackmail element that worries me the most. The malicious allegations made to the victim’s employer and the consistent nature of it. Pitt was threatening psychological and physical harm to his victim and his family. The custody threshold has been passed.”

Mr Mott responded: “Unfortunately some people need to appear before a court to learn their lesson. They need somebody in authority, like a district judge, to tell them enough is enough. That is exactly what has happened here.”

Pitt, of Leighton Road, Cheltenham, pleaded guilty to stalking the victim between July 24 and November 13 this year in Cheltenham, causing him serious alarm or distress which had a substantial adverse effect on his usual day-to-day activities by sending him intimidating messages and sending sexually explicit letters to his parents and employer as well as making an unwarranted demand for money along with loitering outside the victim’s family home.

Judge Moffatt said to Pitt: “In normal circumstances a defendant in your position would be sent to prison.

“However, I am suspending the sentence because of what’s happened to you in the past and to some extent it has affected the way you think.

“I believe any work that can be done should be done in the community. I hope you will be able to develop the skills to address your anger issues and handle rejection in a measured way.”

The judge sentenced Pitt to a six month prison term, suspended for 18 months; ordered him to attend 16 rehabilitation activity requirement days and undertake 200 hours of unpaid work.

The judge also imposed an indefinite restraining order forbidding him from contacting his victim or his family and ordered him to pay £85 court costs and a £128 victim surcharge.

Gazette Series Gloucestershire