Man admits fitting tracking device to ex-partner’s car

AN OBSESSIVE Weston man made his ex-partner’s life ‘hell’ by harassing her and fitting a tracking device to her car, a court has heard.

Magistrates at North Somerset Courthouse in St Georges heard how Nicholas Royce attached the gadget to Sarah Conning’s car after she left him and started a relationship with one of his former friends.

When Miss Conning found the suspicious black device attached to the underside of her car she had to call in the bomb squad to determine whether it was dangerous or not.

The court heard Royce, of Lower Church Road, had been in an on-off relationship with Miss Conning since 2006, but she broke it off in February 2010.

Royce texted her for several months after the break-up but Miss Conning started a relationship with Paul Ellis, a long-time friend of Royce’s, later that year.

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Ian Jackson, prosecuting, said that on October 26 Royce harassed Miss Conning while she was celebrating a friend’s birthday at Bottelinos restaurant in the Boulevard, Weston, saying he would ‘make her life hell’.

Then, when Miss Conning and Mr Ellis went to Rugby together on December 5, Mr Ellis became suspicious because Royce sent several text messages revealing that he knew their location.

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The next day after she had returned to North Somerset to work, Mr Ellis told Miss Conning to check her car. When she did, she discovered a small black box which had been tied onto the bottom of her car with cable tie.

Not knowing what it was, she called the police, and a bomb disposal unit was called to the scene and the road cordoned off.

The box was eventually identified as a tracking device and removed. When questioned by police, Royce admitted he had bought a tracking device from the internet ‘for a tractor’.

Mr Jackson added: “In terms of controlling behaviour, it does not come more serious than this.”

Debbie Clarke, defending, said: “He (Royce) felt betrayed by his friend and Sarah Conning, who he felt had lied to him, so he stupidly fitted the tracker.

“He is sorry for what he did, and wants to put it behind him.”

Having originally denied the allegation, Royce admitted a charge of harassment without violence before his trial, and will now appear at the court again on June 30 for sentencing, with magistrates telling him he may face a custodial sentence.

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