Holiday romance turned to misery for Norfolk woman subjected to “relentless campaign” of stalking
PUBLISHED: 06:00 31 May 2018 | UPDATED: 13:42 31 May 2018
It was a brief holiday romance on an idyllic Mediterranean island that was a welcome distraction for a recently widowed Norfolk woman.
But the short-lived connection became a nightmare as the grieving 54-year-old faced a relentless campaign of stalking and intimidation which ended in her being held prisoner in her own home in east Norfolk, Norwich Crown Court heard.
The court was told the woman, who we have chosen not to identify, met Georgios Katsikidis while on holiday in Greece in August 2016, two months after the death of her husband.
What followed was six months of persistent phone calls and text messages, even threats to share explicit images with the family of her late husband.
Katsikidis, 39, had followed his victim to the UK , where he had an ex-wife and two young children in Birmingham.
“She did not want any kind of relationship at that stage,” John Morgans, prosecuting, said. “She felt it too soon after the death of her husband but he seemed very attentive and she was grateful for the distraction.”
After “letting him down gently” failed, the woman’s life was made a misery, culminating in Katsikidis breaking into her home on January 16 last year and keeping her prisoner there for two hours, assaulting her when she tried to call the police.
Katsikidis was yesterday jailed for 16 months after admitting stalking, false imprisonment, common assault and intimidation, having been extradited to the UK from Greece on a European Arrest Warrant.
He has now been banned from Norfolk as part of a restraining order imposed on Wednesday.
Mr Morgans said the pair had started to meet on occasion in the UK but “from a very early stage she was concerned he was too intense”.
“She did not want him to come to visit for her birthday in December,” he said. “He called her and said he was in Birmingham, but a few moments later he was at her window, having lied about where he was.
“This goes on throughout December and January, becoming more persistent.
“He was starting to go through her mail and Facebook looking for male friends and contacts.
“From January 10 she received tens upon tens of unwanted calls. One tactic was to pretend he was in hospital. Being concerned she contacted the police for advice, and said she wanted no more contact from him.
“He told her he had contacted her late husband’s grieving family with graphic sexual images of them together. She goes straight to the police station and the calls continue there. A police officer answers one of the calls and warns him they have to stop.
“She receives calls and messages through the rest of that evening. One morning in January she receives 125 messages.”
Mr Morgans added: “She was too afraid to be in her home not knowing where he was. She had five days with relentless contact and went to stay with friends.
“By January 15 different phone numbers are being used by this defendant. He claims in these series of messages to be someone else, trying to make her feel responsible for a non-existent trip to hospital.”
The next day the victim’s daughter had left for school around 7.40am, the court heard.
“Shortly after she hears what she describes as quiet footsteps climbing the stairs, and suddenly he is in her bedroom,” said Mr Morgans.
“His first words to her were ‘I’m not going to hurt you’. She reaches for the house phone to call 999 but he takes the phone from her. Until 10am he is effectively keeping her a prisoner in her own home.
“The assault takes place as she tries to get hold of the phone and she is able to text her friend who calls the police.”
Even after he was bailed, Katsikidis was messaging and emailing his victim, “completely blaming her for the situation” and asking her to drop the charges.
Robin Howard, mitigating for Katsikidis, said he was “deeply and utterly ashamed” adding he “lost his head over a love affair”.
Mr Howard said after he was bailed he became homeless and survived off “bread and sugar from Costa Coffee” before “rattling around Europe for 12 days with no passport”.
Judge David Goodin, sentencing Katsikidis, told him to “leave this county and do not return”.
“You made her life a misery with features, frankly, of a teenage obsession,” he told him. “The effects upon her were vast - leaving her home and making changes to her daily life purely to avoid you.
“This wasn’t simply a question of unrequited love and heartsick pestering. It turned to most unpleasant threats and to violence.”
Katsikidis was given 15 months for stalking, 10 weeks for assault, 10 months for false imprisonment and 16 months for intimidation, to run concurrently.