Updated: Student who travelled across Europe to stalk York children’s author is jailed
A man has been jailed for stalking and harassing a children’s author from York.
Alexandru Bogdan Rotaru was sent to prison after pleading guilty to a charge of stalking to cause serious alarm and distress to French writer Clementine Beauvais.
York Magistrates’ Court heard his reign of intimidation began in 2017 when he started stalking his victim online via social media.
Despite banning Rotaru from her accounts, he continued to attempt to make contact with her, going as far as travelling from his home in Romania to Paris to attempt to meet her and give her flowers, as she attended a work event.
He was asked to leave and not to attempt to contact his victim again, advice which he ignored when he contacted her by phone and was again given a clear instruction to stop.
Ms Beauvais, who writes the Sesame Seade series of children’s books and is a senior lecturer in English in Education at the University of York, was by this time incredibly intimidated by his behaviour.
Went to her office
In February 2020 Rotaru flew to the UK and attended the Ms Beauvais’ offices at the University of York. Fortunately, she was not at work that day, but colleagues alerted her to his presence and it was at this stage she reported his concerning behaviour to North Yorkshire Police.
Despite police involvement and contact, Rotaru continued to attempt to trace his victim by making enquiries with her employer as to her whereabouts.
Throughout this period, senior investigating officer Detective Sergeant Adam Saggers gathered evidence of Rotaru’s behaviour.
Supported by North Yorkshire Police’s Stalking Support Unit, he worked closely with overseas agencies to build the case. On 19 November, DS Saggers became aware that Rotaru had left Romania and had boarded a plane bound for the UK.
Thanks to the early notification, DS Saggers was able to alert local officers, who arrested and detained Rotaru as he disembarked the plane at Stansted airport.
When searched, he was found to be carrying an engagement ring and admitted that he was intending to locate and propose to his victim.
Rotaru was transported to York, where he was charged and remanded in custody until his appearance in court earlier this week.
Having pleaded guilty to the charge of harassment, Rotaru was jailed for 16 weeks. Magistrates said prison was merited because his actions caused very serious distress to the victim, and because he carried out a persistent campaign over a prolonged period.
A restraining order was also imposed on Rotaru forbidding him from contacting Dr Beauvais directly or indirectly by any means whatsoever.
This prevents him from making enquiries with her publisher and editors, entering the road where she lives or works at, and attending any event where she is appearing such as a book festival.
He was also made to pay a surcharge to fund victim services of £128.
‘The police will take action’
Speaking about the sentencing, Detective Sergeant Saggers said: “With the fact that Rotaru and his victim are both European citizens, but the offence had taken place while the victim was located in York, it’s been a complex investigation which has required a number of overseas agencies working closely together.
“I’m pleased that we have achieved a conviction and I hope the victim can find some peace in the fact that he has been sent to prison and will be prevented from contacting her ever again.
“I also hope that this case gives some indication of the lengths North Yorkshire Police will go to, to protect victims and prevent harm.”
Detective Constable David Adams from the force’s Stalking Support Unit, which supported the investigation, said “This conviction is a testament to the hard work and determination of DS Saggers to achieve justice for the victim.
“He diligently gathered evidence and liaised with authorities in Romania and across Europe, along with the National Crime Agency to ensure this victim was safeguarded.
“It’s particularly timely that this sentencing takes place in the middle of the #16days campaign.
“I hope this investigation and subsequent conviction sends some reassurance to anyone who is going through a similar experience, that the police do listen and do take action. If someone’s behaviour is making you fearful for your safety, please report it to police on 101. In an emergency always dial 999.”