Northumbria Police officer stalked his terrified ex while using police computers to check up on her hundreds of times

Northumbria Police headquarters on Middle Engine Lane in Wallsend
Northumbria Police headquarters on Middle Engine Lane in Wallsend -Credit:MDM

An obsessive police officer who refused to accept his relationship was over subjected his ex to a terrifying stalking campaign.

Northumbria Police cop Jonathan Waugh also misused the force's computer system hundreds of times to look for information about his ex-girlfriend, her sons, his ex-wife and one of his partner's colleagues he was jealous of.

The woman ended her two-year relationship with Waugh, from Blyth, in May 2023 after noticing what she described as "red flags" of his controlling behaviour, Teesside Crown Court heard.

But despite hearing how the cop's behaviour had left his victim scared to be in her own home and caused "immeasurable" damage in the public's confidence in police, Waugh escaped immediate jail when he was handed a suspended prison sentence on Monday.

Jonathan Harley, prosecuting, explained how Waugh met the woman through Facebook dating in 2021.

Teesside Crown Court
Teesside Crown Court -Credit:Evening Gazette

"[She] describes the relationship as good to start with, but said there were a few incidents that caused her concerns, 'red flag', she would call it," he said. "He was jealous and insecure."

She ended her relationship on May 30, 2023. But over a period of around two weeks after, Waugh sent her a number of messages, and turned up at her home uninvited. On one occasion he barged into her house and refused to leave.

"On the day [she] ended the relationship, the defendant sent several sentimental picture messages and pleaded with her to reconsider," Mr Harley continued. "The messages persisted despite [her] telling the defendant to leave her alone. The next day he sent her a text saying his car had broken down on the route she would be taking to work."

The following day, 49-year-old Waugh turned up at his ex's house unannounced and she refused to let him in, the court was told. Then several days after that he made another uninvited visit. This time when the victim tried to prevent him from coming inside by shutting the door, he put his foot in the door.

A neighbour also told the woman she had seen Waugh looking through her garden fence, on June 12 2023. Two days later, she reported Waugh to police. Following his interview it was discovered that Waugh had been using police computers to illegally look up information about her, her family and his own family. He had also searched for himself, the court was told.

"Throughout the course of the relationship...he used the Northumbria Police integrated system to access records relating to [her] without lawful reason," Mr Harley said. "In addition to that he accessed 25 records in relation to her co-worker."

Waugh also used the system to look up her teenage son, his ex-wife and his own children. He made a total of 380 unlawful searches relating to the woman and her family and more than 240 about himself and his own family over a period of around three years.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, she described how Waugh's behaviour had left her too scared to sleep at night and leave the house.

"I have felt scared about going out the house because of this awful feeling of being watched," the statement said. "I became more reclusive. I have experienced many sleepless nights, waking at the slightest noise."

The victim said she had also installed CCTV cameras at her home and was even considering moving so that Waugh would longer no where she lived.

Waugh, of Ponteland Square, Blyth, pleaded guilty to one charge of stalking and six of computer misuse offences.

In sentencing him to a total of 28 weeks in prison sentenced for 18 months, Judge, Ms Recorder Caroline Sellars said his behaviour will severely damage the public's trust in police.

She said: "I'm sentencing you for offences you were able to commit because of that trust and responsibility that you held in your position. Your actions are a serious breach in the public's trust in the police force generally. The damage to the public trust and confidence in policing is immeasurable."

And in relation to the stalking offence, the Judge said: "You were motivated by our own feelings and your own needs. You didn't give a thought to [the victim]. You were unwilling to take no for an answer."

Mark Styles, mitigating said that Waugh had been a hardworking police officer for almost 20 years and was highly thought of by his colleagues. He also served in the army in the late 1990s and was well-respected by his comrades.

He said: "On reflection now he understands the gravity of his offending behaviour." Waugh was also given a five year restraining order to keep him away from his victim.

Det Supt Donna Rose, Head of Professional Standards at Northumbria Police said: “Firstly, I want to recognise the bravery of the victim in coming forward, which meant this individual has now been brought to justice. The officer was suspended from duty when concerns were raised and a thorough investigation was carried out.

“A file was submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service and they were subsequently charged with offences, for which they have now been sentenced.

“Their actions were completely unacceptable and are in no way representative of the overwhelming majority of officers, staff and volunteers at Northumbria Police who come to work to make a positive difference to people’s lives.

“As a force, we have made it very clear that when someone falls below the standards expected and which they made a commitment to uphold we will take appropriate action. I can confirm misconduct proceedings are also being progressed in relation to the officer who remains suspended from duty.”