Somerset teacher who spied on wife with camera spared jail

A teacher who spied on his wife with a secret camera when he wrongly suspected she was cheating on him has been spared prison.

Gavin Bowditch, 38, of Fiddington, Somerset, was convinced Helen Bowditch was having an affair and also placed a tracking device on her car.

He previously admitted the offences but denied they amounted to stalking.

Bowditch was given a suspended jail sentence and a restraining order at Taunton Magistrates' Court.

He must not contact his wife, who is a veterinary nurse, for three years.

Bowditch had hidden a video camera under a television at the couple's home, the court heard.

Secret location

He also sent Facebook messages purporting to be from his wife until she found out and confronted him.

The court heard how Mrs Bowditch has moved to a secret location, left social media, changed her car and taken new security precautions at work as a result of her husband's actions.

Bowditch was convicted following a trial last month.

On Tuesday District Judge David Taylor imposed a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months,

'Concerted and devious'

He said: "When I convicted you, I concluded your course of conduct was a targeted, planned, intrusive and deliberate in an attempt to track Helen Bowditch.

"Your concerted and devious steps caused her various stress, inflicting her day-to-day activities. She moved address, changed her motor vehicle, came off Facebook and changed her phone and email, all because she was concerned about what you might do next.

"She gave you no reason to believe she was having an affair."

The court heard that Mrs Bowditch, has since launched divorce proceedings.

James Mumford, defending, said Bowditch had a couple of health scares last year which led to paranoia.

He told the court: "Had he not been paranoid or depressed and had this relationship not been disintegrating, he would not be before the court. He now accepts the relationship is over."

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