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Chivenor-based Royal Marine sergeant who stalked ex-wife is spared jail

By This is NorthDevon  |  Posted: February 01, 2013

Exeter Crown Court

A Royal Marine sergeant who stalked his estranged wife and tried to ram her car off the road has been ordered to attend an anti-domestic violence course.

Sgt Stephen Harris, aged 42, was spared jail so he can continue with his career with the Chivenor-based Commando Logistics Regiment.

Harris was banned from going within 100 metres of his wife Zoe after assaulting her twice during their nine year marriage but he defied the order by tracking her down as she left an event at a private school in Devon.

He was caught by the school’s CCTV system as he waited for her to leave and then pulled out in front of her BMW, forcing her to brake and swerve and almost hit a gate post.

Harris, who was based at Lympstone at the time but has since transferred to Chivenor, denied breaking a non molestation order but was found guilty by a jury at Exeter Crown Court last December.

He was made subject of a community order with two years supervision and a requirement to attend a Building Better Relationships course run by the probation service. He was told to pay £1.400 costs.

Judge Phillip Wassall told him:”You manipulated this situation and deliberately waited and drove out in front of your wife to intimidate her.

“You exhibited an attempt to control her as well as emotional abuse and my concern is that you are likely to be abusive in other relationships without intervention.

“I had been considering a prison sentence of about six months but this would not allow time to work on your behaviour and supervision is therefore the better option.

“You behaviour on this occasion was disgraceful. What you did was alarming and dangerous. However, there is a great deal on the positive side of the scale.

“Everything I have read about you from the Royal Marines shows me you have a good career and it is plain to me that it is in the public interest for you to keep your job and carry on serving your country.”

During the trial last year, Harris’s ex wife Zoe, told the jury she was terrified and upset by the incident and alarmed when she discovered he had also been close to her home in Seabrook, Topsham, on a later occasion.

She said:”He cut in and I had to stop very quickly. I was upset. I thought he was trying to damage my car and myself. I felt he was bullying me again and I was scared.”

Harris said he had not seen his wife’s car when he pulled out.

Mr Gareth Evans, defending, said Harris is a dedicated member of the Royal Marines who would face dismissal if sent to jail. He said he now accepts his relationship with his ex wife is over and has started a new relationship with another woman.

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