A GOGGLEBOX researcher has been jailed after spying on her ex-cop boyfriend and his new partner by posing as a delivery driver.
Rachel Barnes, 27, began “surveillance” of PC William Saunders after the pair had a casual sexual encounter on the Hinge dating app.
The pair met on several occasions in Swindon, Wilts, but Barnes later discovered the officer had begun a new relationship.
Barnes began targeting his new girlfriend, police investigator Catherine Baird, in January 2021.
Swindon Crown Court heard that Barnes’ cell phone pinged near her home more than 400 times, but it is unclear how many times she visited the place.
She also falsely reported to Thames Valley Police that PC Saunders visited her home and violated Covid regulations.
The court heard that she would act as a delivery driver to get Ms Baird to open the door and create a fake social media profile to add PC Saunders, his new partner and her housemate.
Barnes pleaded guilty to two counts of stalking and one count of stalking causing serious alarm or distress.
She was today jailed for 18 months, after a judge ruled her offense was “too serious” to receive a suspended sentence.
Ms Baird testified in court that Barnes “certainly followed her” to find out where she lived, as the frightened victim pulled out hundreds of pounds on CCTV cameras and the doorbell rang.
In a victim impact statement, she said: “I want to curl up in a ball and cry and scream at this girl leave me alone.
“Before she came into my life, I was doing a good job and going well.
” This has now stopped and it is all due to her fixed and obsessive behavior. “
She had to take time off work for almost a month after her sergeant told her she was missing her “spark” and was unable to get her detective degree as a result.
She added: “The whole ordeal of fearing my stalker from knowing my address has taken a toll on my mental health and that has affected my performance.
” I have to be careful not to accidentally share my location on any phone app… I can’t even join the village’s Facebook groups simply for fear of her following me.
“This girl has affected my mental health, caused trauma, affected my career, hindered my career development opportunities and affected my ability to attend my master’s degree. .
“The whole situation is just bizarre, but unfortunately, I know how weird some girls can be when they’re jealous.
“I put it down to what this is – jealous that I was there with Will and she wasn’t.”
Barnes breached the stalking protection order four times in the few months after the crime and was fined £100.
She visited the Gablecross police department several times, and was found guilty of drunk driving after a police officer confronted her in a guest parking lot.
Judge Peter Crabtree OBE described her stalking as “highly planned” with “intent to cause very real distress”.
Sentencing Barnes, he said: “I am satisfied, with the assessment of a pre-sentence report, that imprisonment is not necessary to protect the public.
“Also, there’s evidence that you have realistic rehabilitation prospects.
“The key issue is whether the offenses are so serious that only a period of immediate detention, detention without suspension can be applied.
“In my view, this is a very serious case of three victims of your stalking, all of whom were significantly harmed or very distressed.”
Barnes was also given an indefinite restraining order, barring her from contact with the victim for life.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/17499151/gogglebox-researcher-stalk-cop-surveillance-operation-jailed/ Gogglebox researcher who dressed up as a delivery driver to spy on ex-cops in ‘surveillance operation’ 3 months in jail