A jealous stalker who concealed a tracking device under a woman’s car to follow her around and sent her emails in breach of a restraining order has been jailed for 16 months.

Martin Axtell was seen standing near the vehicle in Shipley by his shocked and distressed victim, Bradford Crown Court heard today.

She alerted the police and they found the tracker device attached by magnets to the underneath of the vehicle.

Axtell, 55, of Newmarket Lane, Methley, Leeds, pleaded guilty to breach of the restraining order and to stalking to cause serious alarm or distress, between August 6 and 22.

Prosecutor Kristian Cavanagh said that on January 11, Axtell was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, for assaulting the woman causing her actual bodily harm in July last year.

The court also imposed a ten-year restraining order.

On August 22, police officers found the woman in a very distressed state after she had seen Axtell standing near her car.

He told them it was a coincidence but went on to admit that he had been following her.

Axtell’s barrister, Rukhshanda Hussain, read out a letter from him in which he said he deeply regretted his actions.

Now on remand in Leeds Prison, he had met a new partner and was in employment.

He had been depressed and stressed at the time, he said, exacerbated by the Covid lockdown.

Miss Hussain said he gave his assurance that he did not intend to harm the woman and that it would not happen again.

He had completed the hours of unpaid work on the suspended sentence order and attended all the appointments.

Judge Ahmed Nadim told Axtell he had reoffended just seven months after his conviction at Leeds for assault.

“You did precisely what you were told not to do,” he said.

The offences showed “an unhealthy mindset,” Judge Nadim said.

Axtell was jealous and he did not respect the woman’s right to make her own decisions.

She had been shocked and distressed to see him standing near her car.

If Axtell carried on offending in a similar way, his sentences would get longer and longer.

Judge Nadim told him: “Mr Axtell, you should understand that there is a great deal of concern nationally, is there not, about the safety of women and that concern arises from the behaviour of men like you.”

He activated ten months of the suspended sentence order with six months to run consecutively for the stalking offence.