Pest who plagued a scared woman for over three years is threatened with jail

Chesterfield magistrates' court.
Chesterfield magistrates' court.

A deluded pest who plagued a woman - who was left fearing for her safety - has been warned that if he breaches a five-year restraining order he faces going to jail.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on Wednesday, June 20, how John Jan Votruba, 37, made phone calls, sent Facebook messages, letters and gifts to the complainant in Hathersage between July, 2014, and January, 2018.

Chairman of the magistrates’ bench, Norman Shaw, told Votruba: “The lady involved has been forced to change her life because of these messages and this is not the way to live.

“She didn’t know you. She didn’t understand who you were or what your intentions may have been and she was in fear of you and your intentions.

“What you have done has had a very serious impact on this lady. Warnings from her didn’t stop you. The warnings were plain and yet you still repeated contacting her.

“Therefore, we are putting a restraining order in place.”

Prosecuting solicitor Becky Allsop explained the complainant did not even know the defendant but they shared similar friends on Facebook.

Mrs Allsop said: “She received a random message in 2014. It was a confusing message and she did not reply to it.

“Following a number of further messages over a period of time, she described on December 21, last year, how this defendant left another voicemail message on her beauty salon landline asking for a private number and wanting to bring her a Christmas present.”

Police advised the complainant to reply and tell Votruba not to contact her after contact had also involved two email addresses including a profile of the defendant’s girlfriend.

The complainant messaged these accounts warning the defendant she would go to police again but she would allow one reply to confirm he had received this warning, according to Mrs Allsop.

However, Mrs Allsop said Votruba sent a message asking for them to chat and the complainant replied saying he was scaring her and she warned if he contacted her one more time he would be in serious trouble with police.

But jobless Votruba contacted her again asking if they could chat via Facebook, according to Mrs Allsop.

The complainant stated she had been left scared and paranoid and found herself locking her salon doors between clients.

She revealed how she would phone her partner when she was getting into her car and he had armed her with a rape alarm.

Votruba told police he thought he had met the complainant ten years ago when she was a cleaner and claimed a group of women had said she was in love with him.

He also revealed to police that he is in an open relationship and he had used his girlfriend’s profile account to contact the complainant.

The defendant, of Prince of Wales Road, Sheffield, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to harassment.

Defence solicitor Annette Thomas said contact was infrequent and not regular between 2014 and 2018.

She also argued that if police had spoken to Votruba from the outset this may have deterred him from continuing to make contact.

Magistrates fined Voturba £120 and ordered him to pay £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge and they also imposed a five-year restraining order.

Chairman of the bench, Mr Shaw, added: “If you breach that order, it is a serious offence and you will have to come back to court and such an offence carries five years in prison if breached.”