Stalker solicitor tracked ex-lover to rehab retreat in South Africa

John Dunne, Julia Atherley

A solicitor and her mother bombarded an ex-boyfriend with messages and calls as part of a “persistent” stalking campaign, a court heard.

Emma Patel, 30, pursued banker Dominic Fernandes after the break-up of their short relationship, deluging him and his family with emails, social media messages and phone calls.

She was spotted outside Mr Fernandes’s family home, and even tracked him down to a rehab retreat in South Africa when he refused to return her calls, the court was told.

Her mother Kerttu Patel, 64, also sent him a barrage of messages after the couple split up.

The offences took place between May and August last year.

At Isleworth crown court on Friday Emma Patel, who previously worked for her father’s Harley Street-based law firm Rippon, Patel & French, was handed an 11-month suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to one charge of harassment by stalking.

Kerttu Patel, who is Finnish, admitted the same offence and was given a one-month suspended prison term.

Emma Patel's mother Kerttu Patel

They were both ordered to carry out a 20-day community order and banned from contacting Mr Fernandes or his family.

Sentencing the pair, Judge Edward Connell said: “This is a sad case. You are two professional women of hitherto good character. This was a joint enterprise ... this was a protracted and persistent enterprise.”

The Patels, who live in a £1.7 million home in Fulham, held hands as they were sentenced.

In a victim impact statement that was read out in court, Mr Fernandes said he still suffered “stress” as a result of the harassment.

He added: “I’m scared where I go in London. The worst bit is getting on public transport and [the] fear they will get on.”

In mitigation, Ms Patel’s defence counsel, Alexandra Felix said her client did not have a “vicious” intent and just wanted to rekindle the relationship.

She told the court: “She [Emma Patel] is a young woman working in the legal system; she has lost all of that.”

The court heard that Ms Patel qualified as a solicitor four years ago and worked in commercial litigation for her father Ashok Patel’s firm until March last year.

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