A driving instructor who became obsessed with his teenage student and created a TikTok account dedicated to her has been given a suspended sentence after launching a sustained stalking campaign.
Graham Mansie, 52, at one point tried to use the dark web to get hackers to access the 17-year-old on social media after becoming fixated with her when she began taking lessons with him last year.
He also asked the teenager out for drinks, told her she was his “favourite” and attempted to shower her with gifts.
Mansie’s behaviour grew increasingly inappropriate between July and October last year as he taught the victim to drive in Bromley.
Learner driver sign PA
On one occasion the instructor tried to give another student a gift bag to pass on to her which contained £65 in restaurant vouchers, a keyring with eight personalised charms and a card where he described her as “kind” and “amazing”.
Disturbed by the unwanted attention, the teenager told her mother, who confronted Mansie directly.
On being told he could no longer give her daughter lessons, the instructor replied: “Is it because I love her?”.
When the victim blocked Mansie on all social media and cut off contact, he attempted to use the black web to enlist hackers to access her accounts, the Crown Prosecution Servce (CPS) said.
He created a TikTok account dedicated to her as well as a fake Instagram page through which he attempted to catfish her and her friends, according to prosecutors.
When the victim moved out of London to start university in September, he posed as a fellow student on WhatsApp to gain access to a group for her halls of residence.
He even attempted to follow her to her accommodation in person,
and on a separate occasion was also spotted near her home address in the capital before quickly making off.
The 52-year-old appeared in the dock at Bromley Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday for sentence, having earlier pleaded guilty to one count of stalking.
He was reported to police in October and arrested in November 2021.
The court heard he had since breached his bail conditions by contacting the victim, most recently in April when he sent her a WhatsApp message saying: “You have killed me” along with a link to a news article about the case.
The student read a victim impact statement to court from behind a screen in which she detailed how Mansie’s behaviour had left her unable to eat or sleep.
“I often can’t sleep and lie awake at night worrying about it. I should be at university having fun … but I feel vulnerable having moved away from my family and my support system for the first time,” she said.
“I lost my appetite. Doctors were quite concerned about my weight and my eating.”
The teenager added that Mansie’s latest contact, in which he appeared to blame her for the situation, left her feeling “distressed,” “upset” and “wondering what he’d do next”.
Piers Kiss-Wilson, defending, said the case could be put down to a “misinterpretation” and that the 52-year-old was “deeply ashamed” of his actions.
The court heard he has since lost his job as a driving instructor and is out of work.
District Judge Vanessa Lloyd sentenced Mansie to eight weeks’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months, citing the “persistent nature” of the offending as an aggravating feature.
Judge Lloyd accepted that he had not intended to cause alarm to the victim, but added: “But your behaviour did cause a great deal of distress, to (her), to her parents and to her fellow students … and their parents.”
Mansie shook his head as the judge told him he seemed to be “having some difficulty that (the victim) doesn’t return your affections”.
“It was pointed out to you very early on that your behaviour was unwanted and inappropriate but you persisted … even after you pleaded guilty, and you breached your bail conditions,” Judge Lloyd said.
Mansie was also made subject to an indefinite restraining order, banning him from contacting the victim online or in person and from attending any location where he knows she may be.
He was also ordered to pay £300 in costs and wear an electronically monitored tag for 12 months.
“There’s no need for you to ever have any contact with her. (She) is just beginning her adult life, and that doesn’t include you,” the judge told him.