reece allen
Justene Reece (R) took her own life after abuse conducted by Nicholas Allen (L).Staffordshire Police

A stalker who drove his ex-partner to suicide after a campaign of threats and harassment over phone, text and Facebook has been jailed for 10 years.

Nicholas Allen bombarded Justene Reece with threats and abuse until she was found hanged at her home leaving a note saying that she had "run out of fight".

Allen, who has a string of convictions for assault and harassment against other partners, was arrested on a charge of unlawful killing after an inquiry into Reece's suicide.

The 47-year-old was jailed after admitting manslaughter and also convicted of "controlling and coercive behaviour" and of six counts of stalking Reece and her family. For these offences he was sentenced to three years to run concurrently.

The manslaughter conviction at Stafford Crown Court is believed to be a historic legal first.

The court had heard that the Laura Ashley shop assistant had met Allen at a scooter club in 2015 and set up home in Stoke-on-Trent, after she left her husband.

But the former soldier and mechanic became increasingly obsessive and controlling and in September 2016 his behaviour led Reece to visiting a Women's Aid refuge.

Allen tried to contact her 3,473 times in five and a half months, threatening her and even turning up at her estranged husband's home.

He also began stalking five people close to and led to Allen being handed a non-molestation order in November 2016.

Allen then breached this by setting up a fake Facebook page before he was arrested. After Reece moved away, Allen tracked her down and threatened her to rekindle their relationship.

After her death a diary chronicling her torment was discovered and the court heard how Allen conducted an internet search to find out if he could be held legally responsible for her death.

Recorder of Stafford, Judge Michael Chambers QC, said according to the Daily Mail: "You clearly caused her to lose her life and before that to experience, over a protracted period of time, what must have been a living nightmare.

"It is not suggested that you intended at any time that she should die but clearly you intended that she should suffer serious psychological harm.

"She committed suicide as a direct result of your sustained and determined criminal actions - actions which you clearly knew were having a profound effect upon her."

The court was told Allen had committed offences against a string of women since December 1998, including threats to kill and breaking the nose of a former partner.

Defending Allen barrister Neil Mercer said he had shown remorse and was being treated at a therapeutic unit.

Allen had a 15-year extended sentence handed to him which included an extra five-year period on licence.