Treatment not jail for Doncaster armed stalker

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A Doncaster man who ‘stalked’ his former girlfriend by text has narrowly escaped jail.

A Sheffield Crown Court judge said the public interest would be better served if Craig Cooke’s mental health issues were addressed instead.

Cooke, 31, of Norborough Road, Wheatley, bombarded Clarissa Faith with texts and was then found hiding behind her garden shed with two knives.

Karen Tunnacliffe, for Cooke, said he had “more than his fair share of difficulties” and police were now investigating his claims of historic sexual abuse, which had caused the breakdown between Cooke and his girlfriend. “He couldn’t come to terms with his emotions and unburdened himself on Miss Faith,” she said.

He claimed he had a “very strong” relationship with her although she said they were just friends and he was ‘delusional’.

Mrs Tunnacliffe said: “He now accepts the relationship is completely over as a result of his very foolhardy behaviour. He burdened her with his disclosures and she was unable to deal with that.”

The texts to her did not threaten her safety. “It was more a cry for help from him than anything else.”

Cooke admitted harassment and two offences of possessing bladed articles at her home in Curzen Crescent, Kirk Sandall. He was given an 18-month community order with supervision.

The judge said she was ‘very seriously concerned’ about the case but told Cooke: “Reducing risk to people is more important than punishment for the offences you have committed.If there had been any direct threats to her you would have gone to prison for a very lengthy period of time.”

Recorder Kate Tulk said it would be better if he were helped by mental health professionals along with a restraining order preventing him from contacting his ex-girlfriend.