Dad fears kids brainwashed by cult, stalks mum
A DAD worried that his estranged wife was taking their children to a cult, fearful that they may be brainwashed, later stalked her.
The District Court at Ipswich heard the father was admitted to hospital and on his release found his wife and children gone from the family home.
Crown prosecutor Ben Jackson said the man turned up unexpectedly at various places where she was and that his wife later found a mobile phone in the boot of the car that was tracking her.
The man, 35, pleaded guilty to unlawful stalking-aggravated offence; and to 12 summary offences of contravening a protection order.
He had not been violent toward her.
The offences took place between late October 2015 and early 2016, the Crown conceding the man has since not offended.
Mr Jackson said the man broke a non-contact provision within 10 days.
He had followed his wife, later admitting he placed a mobile phone in her car to track her location - Mr Jackson saying this behaviour was "quite concerning".
He'd also sent her 90 text messages and phoned her 51 times.
Mr Jackson said he also made threats to any future partners of hers and alleged she'd committed Centrelink fraud.
He said concerning features are the persistence of his conduct and the threats made (to any future partners).
"To be fair they were not threats of personal violence to her or to harm the children," Mr Jackson said.
Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC said the threats at that time were hypothetical.
Mr Jackson said the offence of stalking with aggravated circumstances carried a maximum jail term of seven years.
And there was a need for deterrence as such behaviour can strike an incredible level of fear.
The Crown said there were no acts violence, and the man's texts not threatening or vile, with the stalking occurring within 28 days.
His defence barrister told the court the man had been a FIFO mine worker who returned home from hospital after a spider bite to find everything moved out of their house.
His wife left no letter.
The man said her behaviours had been changing becoming hippy like, even keeping the placenta of her child.
"He was worried, rightly or wrongly that she was joining a cult," the barrister said.
"He feared they were brainwashing the children."
Judge Horneman-Wren said his conduct had no doubt been frightening with emotional effects, with no threats of violence.
He said the couple had different views over parenting including immunisation, with his wife not in favour while he seemingly was.
He said court protection orders were meant to give protection.
Judge-Horneman-Wren sentenced him to six months jail, immediately suspended for two years. The summary offences were convictions only.