A former police inspector commended many times during 24 years with North Yorkshire Police has avoided jail for waging a hate campaign against an ex-girlfriend.
Spurned Garry Ridler, 51, of Pickering, left Emma Simpson so traumatised with a barrage of abusive emails, texts and letters that she was forced to move house.
He is disgusted with himself for the way he has behavedAlex Menary, defendant’s lawyer
They began with messages from an anonymous email account and escalated to malicious complaints to the NSPCC about drinking and taking cocaine.
He anonymously wrote to her letting agents saying that she had left her house in squalor, that there was cat vomit everywhere and she had taken cocaine while her children were upstairs. Police later found a fingerprint on the letter belonging to Ridler.
On 6 January, he sent 29 text messages to Miss Simpson after seeing her out with her new partner.
One said: “Tell your boyfriend to check his messages on Facebook. Tell him there is a storm ahead. What is there to lose...the woman I love.”
Ridler, an ex-soldier, admitted stalking Miss Simpson, his partner for 14 months, in 2013 and 2014.
Nick Adlington, prosecuting, said: “The defendant has had a devastating effect on the complainant and her children who have had to move schools because they have had to move house to escape the defendant’s behaviour.”
Alex Menary, mitigating, told Leeds Crown Court: “He is a man of exemplary good character and was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and alcohol abuse.
“He was struggling with the breakdown of his relationship. He is disgusted with himself for the way he has behaved. He was in the Army for 12 years and North Yorkshire Police for 24 years.
“He carried out a difficult job in difficult circumstances and this conduct has now seen it all thrown away.”
Mr Menary said Ridler, the chairman of the British Royal Legion branch in Pickering, had been signed off on stress-related sick leave while the harassment took place.
He added: “He has now set up his own business as a private investigator and he wishes to put this behind him.”
Judge Guy Kearl said: “Over a period of six months you pursued a code of conduct against Emma Simpson.
“You harassed her, you set about a devious course of conduct, contacting social services and the NSPCC about the state of her home and children and you sent abusive and malicious emails under fictitious names.
“She supported you during the course of your relationship when you needed to overcome your post-traumatic stress disorder.
“While this was going on you were isolated and lonely but this course of conduct traumatised Emma Simpson and her children.
“You were desperate to carry on your relationship at that time, but she was not.”
The judge added: “You have shown genuine remorse for what you did.”
Ridler was given a three-month sentence, suspended for two years, and a 12-month supervision order. He was made the subject of a restraining order to keep him away from Miss Simpson and told to pay £1,500 in costs.
In 2010, Ridler was praised for bringing to justice a jobless conman who offered to sell the Ritz hotel in London to businessmen.