6th December 2010
A hospital administrator has made British legal history by becoming the first man to be jailed for stalking a woman by blog. Stephen Andreassen, 38, compiled up to 35 website blogs in which he repeatedly insulted an ex-girlfriend after she ended their month-long relationship, Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard.
Over 18 months Andreassen regularly updated his sites telling men to stay away from mature university student Rebecca Pattinson, 36, while bombarding her with Facebook messages, texts, phone calls and e-mails begging for her to take him back. In a chilling move away from his online tactic, on one occasion Andreassen posted her a copy of the Harper Lee novel To Kill A Mockingbird with a note deliberately inserted in a chapter in which the main character, Atticus Finch, tells his children what rape is. Andreassen, who was sentenced to 18 weeks, had twice previously been hauled to court over his online hate campaign against Miss Pattinson and was issued with a restraining order.
However, he continued his campaign, which included sending messages to her family in an attempt to turn them against her. When his tactics failed, he booked himself into a hotel and took numerous pills in a suicide attempt, which he had foreshadowed in a blog.
In one blog he wrote of Pattinson: ‘The longer you refuse to speak to me, the longer this goes on and on. I’m not the monster you’ve built up in your mind’.
In one internet blog he ranted: ‘I’d just like to mention that due to Rebecca’s obstinate refusal to discuss this like an adult, the full story of Rebecca Pattinson’s behaviour is now cast far and wide. ‘What exactly did I do that you feel you can never talk to me again? I’m pretty sure I would have remembered murdering someone. ‘I’ve given up making sensible requests, so here’s my latest… Meet me for 3 minutes, anywhere you want. ‘You only need to stay and talk for as long as I refrain from punching a nun or eating a live otter. It’s already beyond ridiculous.’
Andreassen boasted of being so skilled in IT he could set up new offensive blogs about Miss Pattinson quicker than they could be deleted. Last year Andreassen, of Urmston, Greater Manchester, escaped jail but was banned under a lifetime restraining order from mentioning Miss Pattinson on any websites after he admitted harassment. Yet two months later he was arrested again after posted another entry on his blog detailing the court case and called the woman involved a ‘liar’ and ‘a sociopath’. He was spared jail again but he set up a new obsessive website with various On the site was a copy of Miss Pattinson’s witness statement annotated by Andreassen with his own comments claiming she had lied. Andreassen also put a disclaimer on the site asking for donations to keep it going ‘long after I’ve gone.’ He then booked into a hotel in Scotland, where he took the tablets in a suicide attempt but was found by hotel staff. The ordeal left Miss Pattinson behind in college coursework and she was prescribed anti-depressants as well as given counselling. In a statement, she said:’The whole situation has been extremely stressful. ‘I’ve been feeling distressed by Stephen’s actions and feel unable to cope.
I can’t stop him from doing this. ‘It breaks my heart that not only has he done this to me but he has dragged my family into it also. ‘I fear that Stephen will never stop and I can’t understand why he is doing this.’
In what is thought to be the first case of its kind Andreassen – who has since been fired by NHS Manchester – was jailed for 18 weeks after he admitted breach of a restraining order. The couple had originally met in 2006 through friends and they began dating three years later when Miss Pattinson went to see Andreassen perform on the 4th Plinth in Trafalgar Square London as part of the ‘one and other’ art exhibition by artist Anthony Gormley. They went on a handful of dates to the cinema and restaurants but Rebecca ended their relationship in September 2009 after only four weeks when he asked her to view a flat with him. Andreassen began bombarding Miss Pattinson with calls e-mails, texts and messages over Facebook begging to be taken back. She threatened to call police and tightened security on her Facebook page and got Andreassen removed from her contact details. But he created a new Facebook account – one in which he posed as one of the victim’s friends to get in contact with her.
When she deactivated her Facebook account completely, he set up a series of public blogs posting messages about her ‘warning all men’ and listing links to his other websites giving his account of their affair. He even sent a Facebook message to Miss Pattinson’s 17-year old son begging him to tell his mother to ‘see sense’ and sent a message to her mother saying she was ‘unreasonable and childish’. Miss Pattinson is so petrified of Andreassen she now drives everywhere in case she bumps into him in the street. In June last year Andreassen was sentenced to 150 hours community service and a 12-month community order with supervision. Two months later he was given a 14 week suspended jail term after he threatened to write a book about his relationship with Miss Pattinson ‘adding that August 11 2009, when I first asked her to go out with me, was the day that ruined my life’. On his latest website blog Andreassen said: ‘The best way to describe my relationship with Rebecca Pattinson is that everything was great until the day after she enrolled for the second year of her course. ‘Before then we had spoken to each other almost every day. We went for lunch that day, Friday 11th September 2009, and her personality had changed completely. ‘She seemed distracted, skittish and nervous. ‘I cannot, and will not be held responsible for Rebecca Pattinson’s paranoia. ‘That somebody can be so sociopathic, so stubborn, and perhaps so evil that they would rather destroy someone’s life than lose face, is beyond my comprehension. She runs the risk of “crying wolf”. ‘All I ever wanted was peace, and for one person to take responsibility for their actions, so that things could return to normal. ‘She couldn’t do it because of her sociopathic paranoia. I hope she gets what she deserves, a lonely paranoid life. ‘Shortly after publishing this, I will take my own life. I would rather die than go to jail because of Rebecca Pattinson’s lies.’
Police were alerted on January 31 to the new comments Andreassen had made on the internet. In court, defence lawyer Tim McArdle said: ‘Mr Andreassen felt it was important to get his side out there. ‘He didn’t draw attention to the site, or publicise it, and had someone not been looking for it they wouldn’t have found it. ‘He attempted suicide not as a cry for help, but as a desperate act.’ Magistrates ordered Andreassen to take the website down and told him: ‘We have decided that this does warrant custody, and we are going to activate the suspended sentence served on you.’
Pinder Reaux & Associates