David Spens QC confronted 21-year-old Alexandre Ludmiro Baza Gomes after spotting the student loitering at his London home and peering through the dining room window. Gomes had become “fixated” on the barrister’s stepdaughter, Ella Piccioni, Westminster magistrates’ court heard, and told the family: “I want to see the girl.”
He ignored a police warning to stay away and was arrested after trying to access the basement area of the property. “I found it very disturbing,” Mr Spens told the court. “I asked him the question, ‘What do you want?’ and he said he wanted to see the girl.
“I gave him a strong warning, an unmistakeably strong warning: ‘Go away, don’t come back, otherwise you will be in serious trouble’.”
The harassment started on June 5 last year, when Ms Piccioni — working from their home in a north London square — spotted Gomes staring at her.
Gomes claimed he was looking at the chandelier hanging in the dining room and he swiftly left the area. But he was seen again later in the day.
“He returned to the same spot, staring and smiling at me through the window,” said Ms Piccioni, who went to stay with her sister to escape the man’s “sinister” attention.
Mr Spens, whose clients included former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman at the phone hacking trial, said Gomes revealed he was an Angolan national studying business and living in a Marylebone hotel.
His wife, therapist Robyn Spens, said she suspected Gomes was high on drugs, and appeared “nonplussed” when they threatened to call the police.
“My husband told me he had come back and asked to see the girl,” she said. “That’s when I was really frightened because I realised Ella was the fixation.”
Gomes rang the doorbell on June 6, and the following day Mrs Spens heard a squeak from the gate to the basement area. “I could see him there with the lock off the gate,” she said.
“I was really frightened as he walked past a second time. He looked directly at me, I’m not sure if he was smirking, but he knew we were frightened.”
Gomes, who says he suffers from undiagnosed mental health problems, did not turn up for his trial and was convicted in his absence of harassment.
District judge Vanessa Baraitser issued a warrant for Gomes’s arrest and adjourned the case for sentencing.