'Like being attacked every day for six months' - jail for Dunchurch stalker who made life hell for ex-partner

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“Like being attacked every day for six months”; that’s how a victim of a Dunchurch stalker has described her experience after her ex-partner was jailed.

Jantibhai (also known as Vijay) Patel, 58, of The Green, appeared at Warwick Crown Court earlier this month where he was jailed after previously pleading guilty to stalking involving alarm and distress.

The jealous man pretended to be someone else to cause harassment to his partner. He has now been sent to prison for four years.

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The court heard how Patel entered a relationship with the victim in April 2019. He quickly became jealous of her seeing friends and family and set up fake telephone numbers to bombard her with messages.

Vijay Patel.Vijay Patel.
Vijay Patel.

He cloned her phone enabling him to have access to all her arrangements and contacts with others. He would intercept messages and reply on her behalf, declining invitations to social events without her ever being aware.

This became a relentless pattern of harassment and abuse including malicious communications, fraud, and stalking.

The victim’s family and friends started to receive malicious text messages from Patel using different telephone numbers. He even hacked her email address to send malicious and damaging messages in her name to friends, family, and clients.

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Patel fraudulently set up accounts and purchased items in the victim’s name. The victim only found out when items she hadn’t ordered showed up at her house.

He also set up policies in the victim’s name meaning she had to contact Action Fraud for these to be cancelled. Each time it would take a couple of hours to do this at a time while she was simultaneously supporting her pregnant daughters and caring for her seriously ill parents.

Patel set up a fake social media account in the victim’s name and posted embarrassing messages. The victim had disabled her social media in order to protect herself and only became aware of these malicious accounts when friends contacted her.

When she was on holiday with friends, Patel sent fake screenshots to the victim that suggested she had been obscene and derogatory about his family.

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She would spend a lot of the time on holiday apologising for things she hadn’t done in order to save her relationship with him. He would then not reply for days causing more distress when she and her friends should have been enjoying their holiday.

All this time Patel remained in a relationship with the victim and offered to help her find the person responsible for the harassment. He even sent abusive messages to his own phone so he could portray himself as a victim as well.

The victim confided in Patel about the abuse she was receiving from an ‘unknown’ person, but he would blame her for bringing it on herself and claim that he was the victim because he was getting malicious communications because of her. He made her feel guilty for the abuse.

Despite changing mobile numbers and email addresses several times and only sharing her new number with Patel and close family and friends the abuse continued.

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Then in October 2019, believing Patel was tracking her, the victim took her car to a garage where they found a tracking device.

A few days later the victim contacted police to say she believed Patel had been in her house without her knowledge and taken paperwork and phones. Neighbours confirmed seeing him going to the house on his own on several occasions despite the victim only giving him permission to do so once to walk her dogs.

Digital forensic work on the tracking device and mobile phone numbers for the suspect linked him to the course of harassment. When officers seized his phone, they found photos of the victim’s diary which contained details of her appointments, where she was planning to go and who she was planning to meet.

Officers also found photos of her bank cards which Patel then used to make purchases online.

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Detective Constable Paul Vaughton, a domestic abuse investigator for Warwickshire Police, said: “Like many perpetrators of domestic abuse Patel was jealous and controlling. He couldn’t stand the victim having her own life and set up a whole new persona to harass and intimidate her, all the while portraying himself as the victim.

“This was an incredibly complex investigation. The lengths to which Patel went to cause alarm and distress to the victim and her family were truly unbelievable. All the time he was trying to isolate her from her family and friends.

“I would like to thank the victim for the bravery and resolve she has shown throughout this investigation. This had a huge impact on her life, and I hope she can take some comfort from the sentence and look forward to more positive times ahead.

“Finally, I hope this case sends a clear message to those who cause so much damage to people’s lives through stalking and harassment. No matter how complicated the web of lies, we will unpick it, find the truth, and deliver justice.”

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Following the sentencing the victim said: “This was a totally destabilising experience for me, to suddenly become the target of a malicious hate campaign from an unknown person not knowing what was going to be thrown at me from one day to the next and not knowing why someone would want to do it. It had repercussions on all aspects of my life; social, financial and technical, to extent that all of these were reduced to the bare minimum. It was like being attacked every day for six months.

“Things only changed when my son became so worried and came back to live with me as I’d been led to believe I was being watched and followed. It was then that Patel began to change his stance, starting to accuse me of bringing this not only on myself but also on him and his family, adding to my already high levels of anxiety, stress, and guilt.

“If it wasn’t for the police – primarily DC Paul Vaughton – and the CPS, despite having a strong suspicion towards the end, I would never have been able to prove that my partner was behind this. I cannot thank Paul enough for his validation and belief in my experience, and his determination to bring the offender to justice.”