Romanian man who stalked University of York lecturer and tried to propose to her is jailed

A 40-year-old Romanian man who harassed a French woman who was living and working in York has been sent to prison for four months and made the subject of an indefinite restraining order.

Alexandru Bogdan Rotaru appeared at York Magistrates Court Monday 29 November 29 and pleaded guilty to the charges.

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His reign of intimidation began in 2017 when he started contacting his victim, a lecturer at the University of York, online via social media. Despite banning Rotaru from her accounts, he continued to attempt to make contact with her, going as far as travelling from his home in Romania to Paris to attempt to meet her and give her flowers as she attended a work event. He was asked to leave and not to attempt to contact his victim again, advice which he ignored when he contacted her by phone and was again given a clear instruction to stop.

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Alexandru RotaruAlexandru Rotaru
Alexandru Rotaru

By this time, the victim was incredibly intimidated by his behaviour and the lengths he would go to to make contact with her. In February 2020 Rotaru flew to the UK and attended the victim’s offices in York. Fortunately, she was not at work that day, but colleagues alerted her to his presence and it was at this stage she reported his concerning behaviour to North Yorkshire Police.

Despite police involvement and contact, Rotaru continued to attempt to trace his victim by making enquiries with her employer as to her whereabouts.

Throughout this period, senior investigating officer Detective Sergeant Adam Saggers gathered evidence of Rotaru’s behaviour and supported by North Yorkshire Police’s Stalking Support Unit, worked closely with overseas agencies to build the case. On November 19, DS Saggers became aware that Rotaru had left Romania and had boarded a plane bound for the UK.

DS Saggers was able to alert local officers, who arrested and detained Rotaru as he disembarked the plane at Stansted. When searched, he was found to be carrying an engagement ring and admitted that he was intending to locate and propose to his victim.

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Rotaru was taken to York, where he was charged and remanded in custody until his appearance in court earlier this week.

Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Sergeant Saggers said: “With the fact that Rotaru and his victim are both European citizens, but the offence had taken place while the victim was in York, it’s been a complex investigation which has required a number of overseas agencies working closely together.

“I’m pleased that we have achieved a conviction and I hope the victim can find some peace in the fact that he has been sent to prison and will be prevented from contacting her ever again. I also hope that this case gives some indication of the lengths North Yorkshire Police will go to, to protect victims and prevent harm.”

Detective Constable David Adams from the force’s Stalking Support Unit, which supported the investigation said “This conviction is a testament to the hard work and determination of DS Saggers to achieve justice for the victim. He diligently gathered evidence and liaised with authorities in Romania and across Europe, along with the National Crime Agency to ensure this victim was safeguarded.

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“It’s particularly timely that this sentencing takes place in the middle of the #16days campaign. I hope this investigation and subsequent conviction sends some reassurance to anyone who is going through a similar experience, that the police do listen and do take action. If someone’s behaviour is making you fearful for your safety, please report it to police on 101. In an emergency always dial 999.”