An internationally-renowned concert pianist was stalked by a former partner.

Emily Bentley-Leek, 32, told Oxford Crown Court that she’d been looking for ‘peace’ following the breakdown of her short relationship with Karl Lutchmayer.

The professional musician, who was living in Oxford at the time, said that it had been the most stressful and painful thing he had ever been through.

But Judge Michael Gledhill QC spared Bentley-Leek an immediate jail sentence after hearing that she had been suffering a psychotic episode and she had family members and friends who would support her.

Imposing 18 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years, the judge said: “I hope that is the end of these proceedings and that we will never see you in this court again.” A restraining order prevents her from contacting Mr Lutchmayer and his parents. She is also banned from visiting Oxford.

In victim statements read to the court last week, Mr Lutchmayer said he had suffered nightmares involving him being stalked, trapped, chased and attacked. He would wake in the middle of the night in a state of panic and would sometimes have to get up and check the house was still secure.

He had made detailed plans about what to do if she came to the house, including setting out clothes, keeping phones charged-up and leaving shoes by the front door.

She had struck up a relationship with his father, who he claimed later disowned him when he realised he had been ‘used’ by the stalker.

The victim told the court: “This has been the most stressful, painful thing I have ever been through.” It had lost him his father, his ‘sense of self’ and undermined his professional life and personal relationships. His partner’s mental health had also suffered as a result of the harassment, he said.

On Thursday, prosecutor Anne-Marie Critchley said Bentley-Leek and Mr Lutchmayer had been in a relationship between November 2018 and April 2019, seeing each other five times before he ended the relationship.

In November 2019, the defendant went to a concert at which he was performing but ‘stormed off’ when she realised his new partner was there, Ms Critchley said.

Over the following months she sent a number of messages to him, either herself or through friends. In December 2019, they met at a party hosted by a mutual friend and the victim made it clear he wanted no further contact.

In early March 2020 she left ‘gifts’ on his doorstep, including handcuffs and an elephant toy. Five days later, on March 10, she called from an Oxford hotel but hung up. On March 11, his partner reported that Bentley-Leek had knocked at the front door then run away.

She was arrested in April and later breached her police bail by asking the officer investigating the case to pass a message on to Mr Lutchmayer. The prosecutor said she later brought a civil case claiming damages against her victim.

Speaking in her own defence from the dock, Bentley-Leek, of Saddlestone Circle, Hereford, said it was never her intention to cause serious alarm or distress. She described herself as a peaceful and compassionate person.

The defendant said she had been directed to do certain things by a male voice and felt like she had no other option but comply.

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