Karen Laing, 29, came before the Dunedin District Court today. Photo / Otago Daily Times
Karen Laing, 29, came before the Dunedin District Court today. Photo / Otago Daily Times

‘Tinder stalker’ sent 200 texts

A NOTORIOUS stalker from New Zealand, who has previously been jailed for her obsessive behaviour, is back behind bars.

Karen Ilya Laing, 29, came before the Dunedin District Court yesterday afternoon having admitted a charge of criminal harassment - the ninth such conviction on her rap sheet.

Judge Kevin Phillips sentenced her to 10 months imprisonment and six months' release conditions, barring her from mobile phone or internet use during that time.

The victim was an Auckland man she had targeted multiple times in the past, who she originally met through the dating app Tinder.

The woman initially met the man on Tinder and today admitted a charge of criminal harassment.
The woman initially met the man on Tinder and today admitted a charge of criminal harassment.

Laing got back in touch with the man in August, despite her most recent jail term having ended only weeks earlier.

Between 1.10am on August 19 and 11pm the next day - a 46-hour period - the defendant sent the victim 199 text messages.

"Most of the messages are nonsensical ramblings but overall show a clear frustration at the victim's lack of interest in her," a police summary said.

"The victim did not reply to any of the messages but is concerned the defendant's behaviour may again escalate to the point where his safety and his family's safety is at risk."

When Laing was approached by police over her unwanted advances, she explained she had sent the messages because "she believes the victim's life is too perfect".

Her remorseless stance was maintained in other interviews before today's sentencing.

She was sent back to jail after the flurry of abusive text messages.
She was sent back to jail after the flurry of abusive text messages.

The man who has been incessantly stalked by the woman said he had been forced to block six phone numbers and change his own in a bid to try and evade her.

However, Laing had found out where he worked and written a letter to one of his friends.

"He just wishes it would all stop," Judge Phillips said.

Defence counsel Rhona Daysh said her client had just started psychological counselling and urged the judge not to send the woman to prison.

However, Judge Phillips said there was no other sentence that would adequately protect the victim.

The pair's meeting was not the romantic liaison it might have been, after they exchanged details online, in 2015.

In September the next year, Laing arrived at the man's house and "bashed open" the front door after he had asked her to leave.

She barged in and grabbed the man around the neck, pulling him towards her.

The victim managed to slip out of the shirt he was wearing and barricaded himself in his bedroom.

But Laing tried to force her way in.

Eventually, the man took action and pinned her to the ground until police arrived.

Laing was imprisoned for four months over the incident but was back in court in June last year when she was locked up again for eight months.

That offending featured the same man from the failed Tinder date and an employee of JB Hi-Fi who Laing stalked and later threatened.

This article originally appeared in the Otago Daily Times and has been republished here with permission.



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