A man from Sittingbourne who stalked a woman and threatened to throw acid in her face has been given a jail sentence.
Duncan Friend harassed and intimidated his victim over several weeks and also made threats with a knife, to people she knew.
Friend became known to the woman in December 2022 and in the weeks that followed, he bought her gifts including a bag, shoes, and scarf.
By the end of January 2023, the victim became concerned by constant messages she was receiving on her phone from Friend, which included demands she needed to return the gifts to him.
Friend was unaware of where the victim lived, and the messages and abuse escalated as he sought to find her address. He also called her repeatedly on several different numbers, many of which were withheld.
Some of the threats were made through people known to the victim.
On 3rd February, a 999 call was made to police that Friend had attended an address in Chatham, linked to a friend of the victim.
He was seen to take out a weapon, described as resembling a machete, from his trousers and wave it around whilst demanding the victim’s address. He was also heard shouting threats he would throw acid in the victim’s face and kill her.
Friend was arrested the same day and later bailed with conditions as officers sought to build a successful case.
He continued to send threatening messages to people including the victim, and on 19th March 2023 an investigation by the North Kent Vulnerability Investigation Team (VIT) led to him being arrested again.
The police will take whatever steps are open to us to protect you and bring to justice those who might harm you
Friend, 51, of Woodstock Road, Sittingbourne was charged with stalking involving serious alarm or distress (between 3 February and 19 March 2023), and a count of possessing a knife in a public place.
He pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court and on Tuesday 12th September was sentenced to two years and three months’ imprisonment. Upon his release from custody, Friend will be subject to a seven-year restraining order.
Investigator for VIT, Holly Felstead said ‘Duncan Friend subjected his victim to relentless harassment and intimidation and his actions have impacted deeply on her daily life. Friend has caused a huge amount of distress, fear and anxiety not only to the victim but to her friends and family’.
‘We are grateful that the victim has shown tremendous courage in coming forward and helping us secure this important sentence. I would like to praise her bravery in reporting these crimes to us and urge anyone who is being abused or harassed by someone they know to tell the police as soon as possible.