Scarborough stalker jailed for nearly six years after harassing woman to breaking point

A Scarborough stalker has been jailed for nearly six years for harassing a woman to breaking point, lying to police that she had been kidnapped and hacking into email accounts at a Scarborough hotel.
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Timothy Millward’s array of “cruel” offences spanned more than two years and left the young woman an emotional wreck, her life “nearly destroyed”, York Crown Court heard.

Millward, 44, from Eastfield, had been working as a night porter at a Scarborough hotel where he met the victim, who thought she had turned a corner in life after finding a job there but quickly came under his spell, said prosecutor Angus Macdonald.

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Millward, a married father-of-three, took her out for drinks after a shift and managed to obtain her contact details and secrets about her turbulent past after topping up her drinks.

Timothy Millward.Timothy Millward.
Timothy Millward.

Once she was on the hook, Millward - described as a “classic” manipulator - became increasingly obsessed by her and began exploiting her vulnerabilities, firstly by telling her, disingenuously, that other staff at the hotel had been “saying things about her behind her back”.

Millward - who had “manipulated his working pattern” to tie in with hers - saw her patent distress at this as an “exciting opportunity to turn it into something sinister”, added Mr Macdonald.

After she told him she was unhappy living where she was, he offered to give her £575 so she could move house.

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“Far from being an act of generosity, it was an opportunity to exercise control over her,” said Mr Macdonald.

Thus began a relentless stalking campaign which left the named victim - who previously had depressive and addiction issues - so distressed, she quit her job at the hotel in April 2019, left

Scarborough and moved to Hull to escape his obsessive attentions.

But Millward simply “upped the ante”, downloading two phone-tracking apps to try to find her location.

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This failed, but he then began bombarding her with messages and told her that her mother was worried about her and wanted her back in Scarborough, which was another lie.

He then started contacting her mother and sisters, despite not knowing them.

She blocked his number and unfriended him on Facebook but when she returned to Scarborough in mid-April 2019 and met another man - another former colleague at the hotel - Millward posted photos of her street on Facebook and pestered her on social media after setting up a new account under a false name, telling the victim there was someone who wanted to harm her new partner.

Millward told her that same person had also sent him messages from a bogus Facebook account threatening to kill him.

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The victim was so terrified she again made plans to leave Scarborough.

Millward went to Scarborough Police Station to show them the threatening messages he claimed he had received, but which he had actually sent to himself.

He told them the victim had made allegations of harassment against him. Police warned him to stay away from her, but he took no notice.

When the victim asked Millward who was behind the Facebook messages, he denied any responsibility and offered her £700, by which time she was so desperate to escape she moved to

Liverpool in late April 2019.

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She told friends she was moving to Spain, got a new SIM card and stayed in various hotels in Liverpool so he couldn’t find her.

Meanwhile, Millward’s behaviour became “increasingly bizarre”, sending more threatening messages to the victim, her mother and sisters from two mobile phones and the phoney Facebook account.

On April 28, he went into Scarborough Police Station again and claimed someone was threatening to kill him and his family and blackmail him over his “affair” with the victim.

Between April 30 and May 2, he started bombarding the victim’s landlord with abusive messages after creating a false email account in her name.

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The landlord contacted her to tell her that her ID had been “hijacked”.

Meanwhile, Millward went into Eastfield Police Station and made a false report that she had been kidnapped.

“(Police) resources were poured into finding her and working out who was behind the (false) accounts and telephone numbers,” said Mr Macdonald.

On May 3, 2019, the “horrified” victim was found in a youth hostel in Liverpool and arrested on suspicion of faking her own kidnap.

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At this stage, police were unaware that it was Millward who had sent the threatening messages.

However, the truth came out when he was caught on camera buying a SIM card and topping up his phone credit at a Tesco store in Scarborough.

Police then intercepted his phone from a mailing centre in Leeds which he had sent to the victim’s old address in Scarborough.

The mobile, which had Millward’s DNA on it, was a work phone he had taken while working at the hotel.

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The victim - who was still receiving threatening messages from Millward who had set up yet more bogus Facebook accounts - was by now at breaking point and finally rang him to confront him, only for Millward to threaten to rape one of her family members and kill one of her young relatives.

“He gloated about the fact that he wasn’t being investigated for ‘making her life hell’,” added Mr Macdonald.

Police traced the IP address for those fake profiles to Millward’s home and his workplace.

Millward, of Redfield Way, Middle Deep Dale, was finally arrested on December 19 when his home was searched.

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Police found he had been “constantly searching” for the victim on various computer devices.

He was charged with stalking and perverting the course of justice but denied the allegations, claiming he was merely trying to help the victim.

He was released on bail and found new employment at a second hotel in Scarborough in March last year, by which time he was also on Crown Court bail.

Millward was sacked for his behaviour on August 16 last year. Out of spite, he threatened to report the hotel for health-and-safety breaches when there had been nothing of the sort.

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Police discovered he had sent guests abusive messages and when people at the hotel tried to access their online accounts such as Microsoft Outlook, and Spotify, they found they were blocked out and their email inboxes and other folders had been deleted.

“The hotel had to hire an IT company to recover the files and when the files were restored, they found similar abusive messages (sent by Millward),” said Mr Macdonald.

“The hotel nearly lost a major client as a result and had to engage in damage-limitation exercises with those guests who got the (threatening) messages (from Millward).

"He used a (temporary) IP address which made it harder to trace but it was established that he was responsible.”

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Millward - said to be “well-versed” in IT - was charged with securing unauthorised access to a computer programme or data but denied the offence.

A trial had been listed for all matters, but he finally admitted all three offences and appeared for sentence via video link on April 21.

The stalking victim, who has since had “constant nightmares”, said it was the “worst struggle I have ever had to overcome”.

A once happy person, she was now “heartbroken”, a depressed agoraphobe who had turned to alcohol to “block it all out”.

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She was now isolated from her family and “couldn’t see a future”.

Mr Macdonald said Millward had a previous conviction for harassment after bombarding a woman with abusive phone calls.

He also had cautions for criminal damage and making a threat to kill.

David Godfrey, mitigating, said Millward had been drinking heavily and taking drugs at the time of the offences and was “in something of a downward spiral”.

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Judge Simon Hickey described Millward’s raft of offences between March 2019 and August 2021 as “bizarre and very serious”.

He said Millward was an “extremely manipulative individual” who was “determined to target a very vulnerable young woman, nearly destroying her life” by “isolating and diminishing” her.

Millward was jailed for five years and 11 months and slapped with a lifetime restraining order banning him from contacting the victim or posting anything about her on social media.