A “truly shocking” stalking campaign that made a mum fearful for her and her children’s lives has seen four men sentenced.

Charles Vance, of Stag Lane in Chorleywood, was the “mastermind behind the conspiracy” that involved three work colleagues used as fictitious characters to terrorise his ex-partner.

Between January and April 2022, the victim was hounded by hundreds of texts and phone calls, including death threats and threats to get her child pregnant.

Among numerous harrowing incidents were a lighter being posted through her letterbox, white lilies symbolising death being delivered to her address, smashing her car windows, and playing horror film noises down the phone.

Watford Observer: Charles VanceCharles Vance (Image: Herts Police)

Vance, 43, also pretended to be a victim of the same stalker and reported fake offences to the police.

Summing up the case, Recorder Butler said: “This was nothing less than a persistent and brutal assault on the life and wellbeing of the victim. To put it bluntly, you all terrorised her and her children.”

Vance enlisted the help of Sean Kellard, 32, of Newton Road in Newbury; Ryan Burton, 25, of Mount Pleasant Lane in Bricket Wood; and David Black, 30, of Anglefield Road in Reading. They were all sentenced for conspiracy to stalk involving fear of violence last Friday (10 May).

Vance was given two years and four months’ prison, as well as eight months to run concurrently for perverting the course of justice. He was also given a five-year restraining order to not contact the victim.

Watford Observer: Sean KellardSean Kellard (Image: Herts Police)

Kellard was paid to make numerous phone calls pretending to be one of the fake characters, during which he told the victim he was sitting on a bench outside her home waiting for her. He was jailed for 21 months.

Burton was given 18 months’ prison, suspended for two years, along with 200 hours’ unpaid work and a three-month curfew. Among his crimes were smashing the victim’s car windows, making the vehicle undrivable, and playing horror film noises down the phone.

Black was sentenced to nine months’ prison, suspended for two years, and 200 hours’ unpaid work for the lilies incident, buying a tracker to put on her car, and planning messages for the victim.

Detective Constable Tilly Andrews said: “This was a really terrifying case for the victim who was fearful for her and her children’s lives. This was a particularly complex case because Vance created fictitious characters to conceal the defendants’ identities.

“‘Hannah’ was created as a fictitious ex-partner of the victims’ partner at the time and ‘Hannah’s brother’ was created as a fictitious character of ‘Hannah.’ Vance also reported offences of stalking to us to divert attention away from him being the perpetrator, a lie he told very convincingly.”