A stalker who fantasised about kidnapping an old school colleague and chopping her head off has had his jail term cut after a top judge stated there was no clear evidence of a serious risk to the public.
Peter Holehouse, 28, of Coupe Lane, Clay Cross, had been “benignly preoccupied” with the woman for 13 years since they were at school together, London’s Appeal Court recently heard.
But that tipped over into frightening stalking behaviour after he bumped into her in the Rose and Crown pub, in Chesterfield. last year.
He sat outside her house wearing night-vision goggles and sent her disturbing Facebook messages, according to a previous Derby Crown Court hearing, because he was angry after seeing her kissing her boyfriend.
Prosecuting barrister Abigail Joyce had told the previous Derby Crown Court hearing that Holehouse had told a friend he wanted to run her over in his car and he wanted to threaten her at knifepoint to get her in the car.
She added that he later messaged his friend and said he wanted to decapitate her with a meat cleaver and he sent a message through Facebook to his victim declaring his infatuation.
Ms Joyce also said Holehouse’s journals revealed he had fantasised about kidnapping his victim at work using a cricket bat, ripping her clothes off and sexually assaulting her.
Holehouse was jailed for four years with a three-year extended licence period, at Derby Crown Court in January.
He pleaded guilty to stalking and at his sentencing hearing the judge labelled him “dangerous”.
But last Wednesday at London’s Appeal Court, Judge Rupert Mayo QC overturned the extended licence period and cut his jail term to three years.
The court heard Holehouse had “long-standing obsessive thoughts and feelings” relating to the victim.
His victim had to make “massive changes” in her lifestyle due to his behaviour and was “frightened to go out and frightened even to open her patio doors”.
The judge who originally sentenced Holehouse had said he was “not able to rule out him being a danger to the public in general” and that was “because of his obsession with the victim and his wild thoughts”.
That approach was criticised by Holehouse’s lawyers, who argued he had been much too harshly punished.
Allowing the appeal, Judge Mayo said: “What is absent here is any clear evidence that there was a serious risk to the public.”
He added Holehouse had only gone off the rails recently due to mental health issues which he was now trying to address.
Judge Mayo said: “There was one victim, with whom he had been preoccupied in a benign sense since school.”
He subsequently reduced Holehouse’s sentence to a straight three-year jail term. Holehouse will qualify for automatic release after serving half that sentence.