A ‘terrifying’ stalker who left his victim too scared to leave her house after driving past it up to 15 times a day – and forcing her to wear a body cam for her own protection – has escaped prison.
‘Obsessed’ Anthony Laslett, 28, showed a ‘complete lack of empathy’ as he followed Anabell Holland in his van and grinned repeatedly at her, Canterbury Crown Court heard.
She handed Laslett a 28-week suspended 18-month jail sentence, 150 hours of unpaid work, and 45 days of probation.
Laslett, of Addington Street, was also ordered to pay £1,000 in compensation of £100 a week.
Mr Laslett followed his victim in a van – which frightened her so much that she resorted to using a body-worn camera for protection.
Miss Holland’s ordeal began when she rejected the stalker’s attempts to engage in a romance, with the 28-year-old then harassing her.
The victim was left terrified after Mr Laslett grinned at her three times in one day from the same vehicle in January this year, prosecutors said.
Mr Laslett, director of an electric utility, left Canterbury Crown Court smiling after being given a suspended sentence.
Moments before that, the stalker was seen crying in the dock, promising a judge that he would leave Miss Holland alone or go to jail.
The court heard that Miss Holland was forced to get a temporary stalking injunction against Laslett last year, in an attempt to stop his advances.
But while yearning for attention, Mr. Laslett trampled on the court’s ruling by following her days before Christmas on TikTok.
Mr Laslett, director of an electric utility, left Canterbury Crown Court smiling after being given a suspended sentence
He then used his Vauxhall to do 15 dives near her Margate home in one day, despite being equipped with a tracking system to help authorities monitor his movements.
And she was left terrified after Mr Laslett grinned at her three times in one day from the same vehicle in January this year, prosecutors said.
The 28-year-old stalker broke the warrant for the last time by entering Bugsy’s Tenpin Bowling in Ethelbert Crescent in June and was arrested shortly after.
Miss Holland, who attended the hearing remotely, told the court in a statement: “I am in sheer terror of Anthony Laslett. He scares me so much that I don’t want to go out.
‘I’m not going out. I spend most of my time at home except seeing my mother.
“Now it’s gotten to the point where I’d rather video call people than go out because I’m scared.”
Miss Holland added that she walks out with a video camera in case he follows her, feeling “jumpy and paranoid”.
She added: “For the past year and a half, dealing with a stalker has really affected my life and the things I do.”
Laslett initially denied the crimes in a police interview, but admitted four stalking offenses before trial.
Kerry Waitt, soothingly, said Laslett “accepts that there is no future in a relationship” with Miss Holland and assures that he “will not harass her in the future.”
“Clearly Mr Laslett has struggled to accept and understand the impact of his behaviour.
“I would suggest that the defendant’s behavior, his fixation, his inability to realize the consequences, is partly due to his underlying psychological problems, especially his autism.”
Judge Catherine Brown said suspending Laslett’s sentence would allow her to enforce tougher measures.
It would help more to protect Miss Holland and everyone he fixates on, while increasing the chances of rehabilitation.
She told Laslett that his “frightening” behavior showed a “complete lack of empathy” when he “changed” [Miss Holland’s] live in important ways’.
“You had never been more than friends, you wanted more, she didn’t, and you didn’t accept that and it’s clear you became obsessed.”