A woman who found a new online admirer after leaving her abusive husband was shocked to discover it was actually her ex posing as someone else.
Paul Thurlow, 57, had been banned by a court from contacting Emma Thurlow, but set up a Facebook account under the name Daniel Clark and continued messaging her.
The charade continued for months, with Mrs Thurlow none the wiser it was her estranged husband illegally contacting her, until the mask finally slipped and he again turned abusive.
Thurlow, from Slough in Berkshire, admitted breaching a non-molestation order at Aylesbury Crown Court and was jailed for 14 months.
The order was imposed in July last year at the end of a months-long separation battle through the courts.
Within days Mrs Thurlow received the friend request and started swapping messages.
Prosecutor Christopher Pembridge said: ‘This was a fake name and a fake profile. It transpired in due course it was in fact a profile being used by Paul Thurlow. Emma Thurlow did not, at that point know.
‘The two individuals sent messages back and forth between July and September 2019 and this occurred quite ordinarily for some time.
‘At one point towards the end, a rather unpleasant comment was received on a picture of the complainant and her daughter, stating that the two individuals in the photograph were two “evil bitches”.’
Following his arrest, the court heard Thurlow made ‘full and frank’ admissions to setting up the bogus profile.
Asked if he had any legal reason to breach the court order, he told officers: ‘Yes, I think I have the right to contact her.’
Defending, Matthew Nash told the court the marriage ‘dissolved very, very badly over a number of things’.
He added: ‘Unfortunately, while he was sitting there with a mobile phone and there were a couple of times he had had a few drinks, he was behaving in a particular way.
‘It was out of frustration. He should have behaved a lot better than he did.’
Judge Thomas Rochford remarked that the ‘persistent breach’ continued either side of Thurlow’s arrest, adding that he has a previous conviction for similar offending.
Thurlow was also subjected to a restraining order barring him from contacting her or attending any address he knows or suspects her to be.