A MAN caused his ex-girlfriend to suffer high levels of stress and anxiety following the breakdown of their ‘toxic’ relationship, a court heard.

Jack Webb, 30, of Levensgarth, Haverthwaite, was sentenced at Preston Crown Court after pleading guilty to stalking involving serious alarm and/or distress.

Prosecutor Hanifa Patel said Webb began messaging the victim on WhatsApp on June 24 2023 after she had ended their relationship four days earlier due to its 'toxic nature'.

The court heard the victim had blocked the defendant’s phone number, as well as on all social media platforms.

Ms Patel said Webb transferred £20 into the complainant’s bank account on July 5 before creating three new Snapchat accounts using different names to message her.

The court was told the defendant also commented a heart emoji on one of his former partner’s videos after making a new TikTok account.

Ms Patel said the victim ended up reporting matters to the police on July 12 after Webb sent an image of a gun on a newly created account, in his ex-partner’s name, to one of her friends the day beforehand.

The court heard the image was alongside a caption which read: ‘I hate when people get involved when it does not concern them. You do not poke a lion when it is down’.

Webb told officers in interview that he was ‘struggling with the breakdown in their relationship’. He was subsequently released on police bail.

The court was told Webb sent his ex-partner a Facebook notification nearly two months later on September 13 inviting her to play on the Coin Master app.

The complainant then told a bus driver not to let the defendant on a bus after he was seen to be waiting behind her in line on Halloween last year.

Webb's stalking activity concluded on November 16 when he 'slagged off' the complainant to one of her work colleagues on WhatsApp, the court heard.

In the complainant’s victim impact statement summarised to the court by Ms Patel, the court heard the complainant had suffered from anxiety and panic attacks.

Ms Patel added the complainant had also been ‘committed into hospital due to high levels of stress and anxiety from the defendant’s behaviour’.

The complainant concluded in her statement how Webb’s behaviour ‘had impacted her more than he will ever know’, the court heard.

In mitigation, Kimberley Obrusik said: “There is a prolonged period of time when this offending occurs, but it was not on a daily basis.

“There is no evidence of the defendant causing fear of violence. Every contact is via social media; it is never face-to-face.

“He was going through a very difficult loss and could not face the loss of another important person in his life.

“In my submission you can step back from immediate custody as there is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation.”

The court was told Webb had 13 previous convictions for 17 offences.

Recorder Ayesha Siddiqi sentenced Webb to a 12-month custodial sentence suspended for 24 months with one requirement of completing 20 rehabilitation requirement days.

A restraining order was also imposed until July 29 - when the actual length of order will be determined.