Stalking chef made revenge t-shirts, court hears
WEIPA chef Pratham Dhingra stalked his ex-partner to the point of near-suicide and had revenge shirts custom made, a court has heard.
Dhingra, now 32, had the shirt posted to the woman's address in 2016.
The tee was printed with her photo and the text: "Who cares about others? Why care about others? I am always right".
Cairns District Court heard Dhingra acted in a meth "spiral" when he began to stalk the woman in 2016 over a $3200 debt - which he had maliciously planned.
"You were the catalyst in giving information to an employer suggesting she had stolen from the business," Judge Dean Morzone said.
"She was beholden to you when you gave her financial support."
Thus began months of harassment over the unpaid debt.
Dhingra used eight different phone numbers and 17 phony email accounts to call the woman daily.
In one 24-hour period in June 2016, he called 70 times and sent 23 messages.
"You would do so at any hour of the day or night," Judge Morzone said.
Dhingra sent a total of 392 text messages and made 69 unanswered calls - but when police confiscated his phone as evidence he remotely wiped the data to avoid detection.
Despite two police interviews, Dhingra kept at it, driving the woman to the point of threatening suicide.
"You knew you were driving her to the brink," Judge Morzone said.
"Even when she said so you would encourage her with alternate means of self harm."
Not content with direct harassment, Dhingra contacted the woman's friends and coworkers to spread malicious rumours, even threatening to tell the media she had been dealing dangerous drugs.
The court heard the complainant woman quit her job, changed her phone and let relationships wither.
"She went into self imposed isolation, feeling helpless and suicidal," Judge Morzone said.
The Indian-born chef was supported in court by his mother, who travelled from overseas for the sentencing.
Dhingra had migrated to Australia at 17 to work in hospitality- it was at his remote posting in Weipa that he began to smoke ice.
Rachelle Logan, defending, said meth was "the blight in his life."
Dhingra pleaded guilty to stalking and a host of summary offences including fraud, stealing, possessing dangerous drugs, fare evasion and breaching bail.
Ms Logan told the court her client would return to India with his mother.
Judge Morzone sentenced Dhingra, who has spent seven months in custody, to two years and nine months in jail.
The term has been suspended for five years and Dhingra was ordered to pay $2000 in compensation.
*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.