A spurned ex-boyfriend waged a “relentless” six-month campaign of harassment against his former girlfriend in what is believed to be Cayman’s first stalking case.
Brett Moor, 28, was given an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and was banned from having any contact with his victim, after he admitted a charge of causing harassment, alarm or distress in Summary Court this week.
Mr. Moor, who had a brief relationship with the woman in Canada, followed her when she moved to Grand Cayman, getting a job on the island and renting an apartment in the same complex.
The relationship remained friendly at first until Mr. Moor began bombarding her with messages. Despite attempts by the woman to convince him to stop, he persisted, using seven different cellphone numbers and multiple social media accounts.
He also showed up at her work and watched her when she was playing golf, according to a summary of the evidence from prosecutor Emma Hutchinson.
In a victim impact statement, the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she feared for her safety and was forced to move house because of his actions.
Passing sentence Tuesday afternoon, Magistrate Valdis Foldats said Mr. Moor’s behavior had been frightening.
“This was not a case of misguided romantic overtures. This was unhealthy, abnormal stalking,” he said.
The suspended sentence meant Mr. Moor walked free from court Tuesday but is liable to be jailed for eight months for this offense if he commits any other crime in the next two years.
He was also ordered to pay $300 in costs and comply with the conditions of a Protection Order which prevents him from having any contact or communication with the victim.
Both the lawyers and the magistrate acknowledged that specific anti-stalking legislation does not exist in the Cayman Islands and during the sentencing hearing looked to guidelines on stalking from the U.K.
Mr. Foldats said the persistent nature of Mr. Moor’s behavior was an aggravating factor.
He said, “The defendant engaged in a six-month relentless campaign of harassment that persisted even after he was warned by the police. His actions were unwanted and destructive to the victim’s sense of security.
“Although the defendant did not escalate to physical violence, his obsession was so irrational and unpredictable that anyone would fear he would take the next step.”
The magistrate said this was the “first case of stalking that we are aware of in the Cayman Islands” and the court wanted to send a message that “persistent, abusive conduct like this will not be tolerated.”
He said he was mindful that the defendant could lose his job and be forced to leave the jurisdiction but said he only had himself to blame.
“His actions damaged the victim’s life and may also damage his own life,” he said. “Those consequences would be appropriate and proportionate.”
Outlining the facts at the two-part sentencing hearing on Monday and Tuesday, Ms. Hutchinson said Mr. Moor and his victim had worked together in Canada and had a brief relationship. She said they had remained friends after she had moved to Cayman and he had contacted her to inquire about potential jobs for his sister. Instead, he got a job and moved to the island himself, finding an apartment in the same complex as his ex-girlfriend.
The relationship was initially cordial until he began sending her a lot of messages and she stopped replying. She asked him to stop messaging her and blocked his Facebook and WhatsApp accounts, Ms. Hutchinson said.
But he continued to pester her, creating new accounts and email addresses to send a string of messages that fluctuated between apologies and name-calling. A 50-page sampling of the messages was presented to the court.
Ms. Hutchinson said the woman had called the police and Mr. Moor had made a signed statement in the officer’s notebook agreeing to stay away from her, but failed to do so.
Gregory Burke, representing Mr. Moor, said he admitted to the behavior described and was remorseful for his actions.
He said he had arrived on the island to take up employment and, feeling “isolated and lonely,” he had sought to rekindle the relationship. He said the messaging had started after long shifts and consuming alcohol. Though the majority of the messages expressed affection, he acknowledged that some did not. The prosecution described some of the messages as abusive and highlighted one as “grossly offensive.”
Cayman Compass reporter Carol Winker contributed to this story.