Predatory blogger 'harassed' victim
A 36-YEAR-OLD man who breached a restraining order imposed on him 14 years ago has been labelled 'highly dangerous' by a judge after losing an appeal against his conviction.
Darren Rennison was also branded 'predatory' and 'manipulative' and warned he faces jail if his behaviour does not improve.
Rennison received a six-month community order, with a six-month supervision requirement, in June, after writing about his victim on an internet blog.
He started harassing Laura Linham almost 20 years ago, after they met at college.
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She got a restraining order against him in 1998, after he was convicted of harassing her, but last year discovered he had been writing about her on the internet.
Rennison, of Casewell Road, Sneyd Green, had argued he thought the two blog entries he had created on the internet about Miss Linham had security measures, meaning they could not be viewed by the public.
He said this meant he had not breached the terms of the restraining order because he had not directly or indirectly contacted her.
But at his appeal against his conviction and sentence at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court yesterday, Judge Robert Trevor-Jones ruled there was 'every reason' to believe Rennison had wanted Miss Linham to read the blogs, therefore contacting her.
After taking less than 10 minutes to throw the appeal out, Rennison, who was convicted of harassing another woman in Stoke-on-Trent in 2005, was re-sentenced to five months in prison, suspended for two years.
Judge Trevor-Jones said: "The two met initially in the first year of a college course and there was no actual relationship between them, beyond acquaintanceship.
"However, it is equally clear the appellant very much wanted it (a relationship) to come about.
"Since then it's quite obvious he has displayed and continues to display an obvious obsession with Laura Linham to this day.
"The essential issue is if the creation of the blogs can be said to have constituted direct or indirect contact with Laura Linham.
"We have every reason to conclude the appellant did want Laura Linham to see them and read them.
"Perhaps the best illustration could be similar to him having put the message on a billboard in her local town centre.
"The appellant said he had locked the blog to prevent access, however, because of some mystery malfunction which we cannot pinpoint, the blog was readily available to everyone."
Rennison moved to Stoke-on-Trent from Somerset in 1999, and Miss Linham did not hear from him again until he applied to have the restraining order against him rescinded.
The case was heard on May 23 last year in London, and his application refused.
He then wrote a blog on the same day titled 'are we friends now?' and posted a second entry on June 2 called 'my promise to Laura Linham'.
Giving evidence, Rennison, who told the court he earns £5,000 a year in benefits, said: "I added security features to the blog which means no-one should have been able to access them and there was no way I wanted Laura Linham to come within 100 miles of it.
"She still had to make an active search on the internet by typing her name into a search engine to find the blog entries.
"It would be like if I dropped the blog in bottles in the ocean and she chose to find them, then that's her own volition."