A MAN whose "campaign of harassment" is believed to have contributed to the death of his ex-girlfriend has been put behind bars.

Sam Knowles, of the A548 in Mostyn, appeared at Mold Crown Court for sentencing on Thursday.

The 25-year-old had previously admitted stalking and breach of a restraining order.

Anna Pope, prosecuting, told the court the victim in the case was Knowles' former partner, Rebecca Ellis.

The two had been in a relationship and had a child but had separated a couple of years before the offences came to pass.

In 2019, Knowles was convicted of assault against Ms Ellis, and was made the subject of a three-year restraining order.

Despite the order - which was eventually extended to become indefinite in duration - Knowles continued to harass the victim, even from behind bars.

While in and out of HMP Berywn twice last year, he continually reached out to his ex-girlfriend via a variety of means, including by convincing others to speak to her for him.

Following a "campaign of harassment" against her, Ms Ellis died at the end of July 2021.

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An inquest held in March this year determined she had committed suicide.

Ms Pope said given the "chronology" of the defendant's behaviour, his conduct potentially played a part in Ms Ellis' death.

Throughout his harassment of her, he sent her WhatsApp messages, phoned her and sent her an indecent image of himself.

He created as many as 60 Instagram accounts to contact her, with messages asking her to give him a chance and not to block him.

The defendant also made bank transfers with messages attached and emailed her.

On July 21 last year Knowles wrote to Ms Ellis, trying to reconcile their relationship once again.

Days later, police found her body at her home.

Ms Ellis gave a statement to police in April last year.

Reading it out to the court, Ms Pope said: "I think Sam's intention is to wear me down by getting people to act on his behalf.

"I feel Sam thinks I'll respond eventually, but I've made my position clear.

"I don't want to have to keep changing my number and address - I want to feel safe and settled somewhere."

Linda Ellis, Rebecca's mum, attended the sentencing to deliver a victim impact statement in person.

She said: "Becky was a wonderful human being. She was full of love.

The Leader: Sam Knowles. Image: North Wales PoliceSam Knowles. Image: North Wales Police

"She cared about other people so much that she decided she wanted to become a police community support officer.

"I'm so proud of the person she was.

"She was my best friend as well as my daughter.

"Despite having a history of mental health issues, I witnessed a drastic deterioration when she started a relationship with Sam Knowles.

"Becky was not with Sam for long before his abusive nature started to show.

"Sam worked relentlessly to break her down piece by piece.

"It left her a complete shell of her former self.

"He was completely obsessed with her.

"Becky did everything she could to distance herself from Sam, but she just could not escape him.

"I believe Becky would still be here were it not for the direct actions of Sam Knowles.

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"I cannot forgive [him] for the path of devastation he has left."

Myles Wilson, defending, said: "He accepts his share of the responsibility.

"He acknowledges his behaviour was one of the factors that would have caused Rebecca to take the drastic action she did.

"That is something he feels ashamed about.

"His overriding intention throughout, naïve as it might be, was reconciliation - a forlorn hope that he and Rebecca would reconcile and be a family unit."

Judge Rhys Rowlands said he could not hold the defendant responsible for the way his actions may have led to Ms Ellis ending her life - but he said he couldn't ignore it, adding it was "plain common sense" to conclude the offending had contributed to the situation.

"You continued to ignore the restraining order," The Judge told Knowles.

"Contacting the victim from prison as part of what was a campaign of harassment against, in my judgement, a vulnerable young woman.

"You went as far as to involve others and after being released in May you continued to harass her and then on your return to prison in July by recall, culminating in that letter sent on July 21.

"Her ordeal only ended when, tragically, she took her own life.

"I have no doubt that your behaviour contributed to her problems.

"Your behaviour amounts to repeated bullying - it demonstrates complete disregard for a court order made to protect her.

"Your conduct was designed to cause the maximum possible distress on the part of the victim."

The Judge said a letter written to him by the defendant in which he expressed he loved the victim and was shocked at her death was "a cynical misrepresentation" of the way Knowles really viewed his victim.

Judge Rowlands sentenced on the stalking as the lead offence, handing down a five-year jail term to reflect his overall criminality.

As such, no separate penalty was imposed on the breach of restraining order.

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