A narcissistic stalker spent months harassing a former partner after their relationship ended, a court has heard. Rhys Phillips bombarded his victim with unwanted emails, texts and voicemails, sent songs he had written for her, and told her he had put a "voodoo spell" on her to make her love him.

Swansea Crown Court heard the emotional abuse Phillips subjected the woman to had resulted in a devastating impact on her life and on her mental health. Sending the defendant to prison a judge said Phillips had engaged in gaslighting and victim-blaming, and said he had no doubt he posed a risk to women who he formed intimate relationships with.

Regan Walters, prosecuting, said following the end of Phillips' relationship with his then-partner in November, 2022, it became apparent that the defendant was "struggling to cope". He said the defendant started contacting the woman via Facebook, WhatAapp, and phone, and though the contact was not wanted the woman replied to some of the messages as she was concerned about his mental health and took the opportunities to direct him to possible sources of help. Support award-winning journalism with WalesOnline’s Premium app on Apple or Android

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The court heard the contact continued throughout Christmas and into the new year and spring and included Phillips sending the woman a Bluetooth tracking device through the post, telling her had had purchased a "voodoo spell" to make her love him, saying he had rope with a noose - something the woman took as a threat that Phillips would end his own life - and sending her a five-page typed letter about their relationship. The court heard the woman asked police to tell Phillips that his contact with her was unwanted but the defendant ignored that warning and continued to harass the woman for months.

The prosecutor said Phillips emailed the woman at her place of work - despite his address having been blocked - found out about activities she was involved with in her spare time and contacted those groups, and got a friend to comment on her Facebook posts on his behalf. He also sent her songs he had written for her. The court heard the messages and texts the defendant continued to send were accompanied by assurances from the defendant that he was not stalking the woman and would not hurt her, along with protestations of his love for her. Phillips' behaviour was reported to the police and the defendant was arrested - in interview, the 54-year-old denied stalking and sought to portray himself as the victim. For the latest court reports, sign up to our crime newsletter here

In a statement which the complainant read to the court she described the devastating effect of Philips' behaviour on her life. She said she was only now realising the extent of the emotional abuse and manipulation she had been subjected to by the defendant both during and after their relationship, and of the "mind games" he had been playing. She said she used to be a strong, confident, independent, and happy-go-lucky person with a successful career but all that had now changed.

Rhys Phillips, of Talbot Road, Port Talbot, had previously pleaded guilty to stalking involving serious alarm or distress when he appeared in the dock for sentencing. He has five previous convictions for 10 offences including the harassment of a previous partner. He was made the subject of restraining order in regard to the previous partner but breached the order multiple times.

John Allchurch, for Phillips, said it was clear from medical reports on the defendant that he has "a long history of struggling to cope with relationship break-downs" which was due to his "personality structure" rather than to any mental health condition. The advocate said it was noted that the defendant persisted in the belief that he had suffered abuse at the hands of three previous partners when "all the evidence points to contrary".

Recorder Christopher Felstead said it was clear from everything he had read and heard about the defendant that he was a "narcissistic and self-centred person who does not take kindly to be rejected" and was only concerned about himself. He said Phillips' offending had resulted in a devastating impact on the complainant. The judge told the defendant he posed a risk not only to the complainant in the case but to other woman with whom he he might form intimate relationships.

With a one-third discount for his guilty plea, Phillips was sentenced to 20 months in prison - he will serve up to half that sentence in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community. The defendant was made the subject of a life-long restraining order banning him from contacting his ex-partner directly or indirectly.

How to access free domestic abuse helplines in Wales

If you, a family member, or a friend have experienced domestic abuse or sexual violence, you can contact the Live Fear Free helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for free advice and support, or to talk through your options. Call 0808 80 10 800, text 0786 007 7333, email info@livefearfreehelpline.wales or go to gov.wales/live-fear-free

Live Fear Free (funded by Welsh Government and run by Welsh Women’s Aid) is a confidential service. Calls to 0808 80 numbers are free to call from landlines and mobile phones in the UK. They do not appear on itemised bills. The helpline provides support in English and Welsh, and access to an interpreter for callers with language support needs.

The Refuge charity also provides information, support and practical help 24 hours a day to women experiencing domestic violence. The service can refer women and children to refuges throughout the UK to help them escape domestic abuse. Refuge can be called on 0808 808 9999.

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