Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Scotsman business editor guilty of stalking

The business editor of The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday newspapers has been found guilty of stalking a female PR consultant.

Terry Murden, 57, had previously been in a relationship with Nicki Sturzaker.

He had denied causing her fear and alarm by going to her flat uninvited, leaving unwanted gifts and notes, repeatedly sending emails, uttering threats, contacting her employers and writing about her.

He will be sentenced later this month.

Following a trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Sheriff Donald Corke said: "It is clear to me that in the whole circumstances of the case, you have engaged in a course of conduct that caused the complainer to suffer fear and alarm.

"It is also clear to me that you knew or aught to have known that engaging in that course of conduct would be likely to cause the complainer fear and alarm".

Blackmail claim

Murden had denied that on various occasions between June 27 and October 4, 2013, he engaged in a course of conduct which caused Ms Sturzaker, who was employed by the PR firm the Big Partnership, fear and alarm.

She told the court that a few months after she ended their relationship Murden had sent her an email saying he was going to make direct contact with her clients.

"I panicked because I felt it was blackmail and would affect my job," she said.

Between July and October 2013 Ms Sturzaker said she received 15 emails from Murden and contacted the police.

She also told the court that a week after she left the Big Partnership, Murden had published two articles in one week about her departure which she thought was an abuse of his position as business editor.

"He had cost me my job" she said. "I felt humiliated. I changed my mobile number. I wanted to get as far away from him as possible". Despite this, she said, emails and gifts continued to be sent.

Murden said the accusation that he had cost her her job was totally unfounded.

"Mr Murden had no idea he was committing an offence" his solicitor Jim Stephenson said. "He told the police he was hoping for a reconciliation".

'Felt threatened'

Fiscal Arlene Shaw asked Murden why he had continued to send messages after being told by her she did not want any more. "Because I had not heard from her" he said. "She had suddenly disappeared". "I felt it was important to try and smooth this thing out".

Ms Shaw told the court Murden's actions had had "a huge impact" on Ms Sturzaker's life. "She felt threatened. Could not get on with her life," she said.

"She felt the accused was obsessed with her, behaving irrationally and erratically towards her and this had a profound impact on her life."

Ms Shaw added: "She decided to end the relationship and she has the right to do so. The only thing she did was to ignore the accused as she had every right to do".

Mr Stephenson said of Murden: "He was trying to re-establish and personal and professional relationship. It was not his intention to cause fear and alarm".

Related Topics

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites