Oxford

Man given panic buttons ahead of stalker's release

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Media captionImre Marton received threats and hundreds of increasingly aggressive Facebook messages

A bus driver who was stalked by a woman for three years is having panic buttons fitted in his home ahead of her release from prison.

Imre Marton, from Oxford, received threats and hundreds of Facebook messages from 22-year-old Charlie Howells, from Wantage in Oxfordshire.

She was jailed for two years in April but is due to be released in August.

Mr Marton said Howells told him: "I will make you ugly so no one else will want to be with you."

He said: "Everybody was laughing about it, it was just a joke. They thought I should feel lucky because I had a girl following me around in love. But this is just a terrible feeling.

"She knew where I worked, what I did in my free time, where I lived, she went to my house a couple of times. All the time, I had to look over my shoulders because she could be there."

Howells bombarded Mr Marton with love notes and rode his route for hours on end after learning his timetable off by heart.

Image caption Charlie Howells would show up on the bus driver's break
Image caption Mr Marton was told to gather his own evidence against Howells

She was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court to two months in jail for harassment and for two years for breaching a restraining order.

Mr Marton said: "She's locked up but she'll be out soon. The police are fitting my house with panic buttons. It's so crazy, I just want to run away.

"But if I press the panic button and there's a knife in my stomach, what good is that? I'm not bulletproof.

"It is difficult to prove and speak out, slowly it's killing you but you have to make some moves. You can't give up, that's my message to other victims."

Det Insp Ivan Reaney said victims of stalking are "strongly advised" to report it to the police.

He added: " In many cases, the conduct of the stalker might appear innocent, but, when carried out repeatedly and is unwanted, it may cause significant alarm, harassment or distress to the victim."

Prisoners serving determinate sentences are released automatically halfway through their terms, and some can qualify for earlier release depending on their behaviour in prison.

Image caption Howells would stay on board his bus for up to 12 hours a day

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