Hove sports instructor jailed for stalking and controlling behaviour
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A Hove man who stalked an ex-partner, threatened to publish intimate pictures of her and concocted elaborate lies to control her behaviour has been jailed.
Peter Moran, 57, a sports instructor of Downland Drive in Hove, subjected his victim – a woman in her 50s - to mind games while they were together, disappearing for weeks at a time with no contact.
He would explain his absences by claiming to be involved in an MMA fight to the death, or to be carrying out top secret work for MI6.
In 2019, he coerced her into moving into his flat, before turning the property into a gym and forcing them both to sleep on a mattress on the floor.
After his victim ended the relationship at the end of 2019, Moran bombarded her with messages, emails and social media contact through a variety of fake accounts.
He would turn up unannounced at her work and home, banging on the windows and behaving aggressively.
On 31 January, 2020, she visited his home in the hope a face to face encounter would end the harassment campaign.
Moran’s open computer screen was covered with pictures of her, and he repeated previous threats to publish ‘hundreds’ of intimate photographs of her online.
The following day, the police were called to reports of Moran sitting outside his victim’s house. He was arrested after being pulled over nearby and found with a key to her house. A suspicious passport was also found at his property.
Moran was subsequently charged with stalking involving serious alarm/distress, possession of a Class B drug and possession of a false identity document.
On 1 March, 2023, Moran was found guilty of stalking and possession of a Class B drug, and not guilty of possessing a false identity document.
At Hove Crown Court on 24 September, he was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison, and given an indefinite restraining order.
In a victim impact statement read out in court, Moran’s victim explained the long-term impacts of his offending, leaving her paranoid, with trust issues and leading a ‘very solitary and isolated life’.
She said: “Since Peter’s arrest in Feb 2020, I continued to live in fear every day, at work, at home, in the street.
“I would always be looking over my shoulder, scanning crowds, cars and corners. I lived and live,
with the constant knowledge that he is watching and monitoring my every move. My home and my work were no longer my sanctuary.
“Every minute of every day I was reminded of the things that happened or could happen. He had access to both and therefore I was never safe. His unpredictability and unstable state of mind is terrifying.
"I did and still do believe he is capable of anything and would do anything to ensure, in his mind, that he has come out on top and punished severely and completely the people who dared to challenge him.
“Intermittently I carry the guilt of my actions and the consequences. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough about wanting to end the relationship. Perhaps if I was kinder in my approach he would have just moved on.
“In my heart of hearts, I know that if I hadn't had involved the police when I did, it would have been the end for me, one way or another.”
In a separate statement, she thanked the Sussex Police team for their support: “I would especially like to thank George Shannon and Ben Stevens,” she said. “They handled the initial report sensitively and supported me through the whole process and helped me stick with it through the challenges. I am so grateful to them and to all at Sussex Police for the way I have been treated and how the investigation was handled.”
Investigator George Shannon said: “Peter Moran’s obsessive, controlling behaviour had a devastating impact on the life of his victim, which she continues to live with to this day.
“She has shown incredible courage to break free of his control, report to police and support this investigation through to its conclusion.
“This was despite Moran’s repeated attempts to disrupt the process, prolonging the ordeal of his victim.
“Thanks to her, he is now safely behind bars where he can cause no further harm to her or any other members of the public.
“I hope the indefinite restraining order also provides some comfort that, once released, Moran will never again be able to impact her freedom and safety as she rebuilds her life.
“If you or anyone you know is trapped in a controlling or abusive relationship, please know that help is out there. Report to police online or via 101, or dial 999 in an emergency.”