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Beauty consultant Sukhbir Gill spared prison for LinkedIn stalking of businessman
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- Sukhbir Gill had restraining order after 5 years of harassment up until 2011
- Bombarded Marcus Pepperell with emails when he refused to give her a job
- But she still messaged him on LinkedIn and repeatedly viewed his profile
- Judge at Old Bailey gave 12 month community order and unpaid work
By Martin Robinson
PUBLISHED: 07:10 EST, 30 August 2013 | UPDATED: 08:48 EST, 30 August 2013
Campaign: Beauty consultant Sukhbir Gill has been convicted of harassing Marcus Pepperell on LinkedIn after he refused her a job
A beauty consultant who used LinkedIn to stalk a wealthy businessman after he refused to give her a job was spared jail today.
Sukhbir ‘Susie’ Gill, 43, sent a message to Dubai-based communications consultant Marcus Pepperell on the network, in breach of a restraining order.
She had been banned from contacting him in 2011 after Mr Pepperell complained to police about a campaign of harassment going back five years.
But Gill then emailed him via LinkedIn to say: ‘Marcus Hi. Is there any chance at all we can have a conversation by phone to clear and heal all past misunderstandings between us both (peace offering)?’
Gill, a self employed single mother with ambitions of working in PR, also repeatedly viewed his LinkedIn profile.
Mr Pepperell was so fearful that the harassment would start again that he contacted police and offered to travel to the UK to give evidence.
Gill, claimed her LinkedIn account had been hacked but was convicted of breaching a restraining order after a short trial at the Old Bailey last month.
Judge Michael Hunter told Gill that normally she would have been sent to prison for at least four months.
He said: ‘I hope that I am not failing in my public duty by giving you another chance.
‘I give you that chance in the light of the fact no threats have been made in the course of this harassment and breach. This was a peace offering, to make friends, but because of the history of this matter your victim was so concerned he came from the Middle East to give evidence in this court.
‘This is almost certainly your last chance of avoiding prison.’
Gill was sentenced to a 12 month community order involving 40 hours unpaid work, a 12-week women’s programme and six sessions of employment training and education.
The court heard Gill was placed under a restraining order after being convicted of harassment at City of London Magistrates Court on 4 August 2011.
Prosecutor Edward McKiernan said the harassment went back to 2006.
'Obsessed': Marcus Pepperell (left) already had a restraining order against Gill but she 'would not stop' contacting him
He added: ‘She was accused of sending a series of emails and would not stop. As a result of that the complainant was concerned.
‘Proceedings had to be brought because the defendant would not desist and didn’t take no for an answer.’
Mr Pepperell, the managing director of FTI Strategic Communications, received the LinkedIn message on 22 April last year.
He tried to ignore the message but six months later noticed that the Susie Gill LinkedIn account was viewing his profile.
Mr Pepperell told the court: ‘In October I noticed I was getting regular views on my profile. I was anticipating an escalation - that’s why I contacted the police.’
Reprieve: The judge at the Old Bailey told Gill this was her last chance to avoid jail
The prosecutor said: ‘The problem is that he doesn’t know just how obsessed she is becoming and his only remedy is to go back to the police.’
Gill represented herself at the trial at the Old Bailey last month.
In her defence Gill insisted she only approached Mr Pepperell for a job and was not ‘obsessed’ with him.
She said: ‘If anything we are complete and utter strangers.
‘I don’t know the person, I didn’t know anything about him. For some reason he has got embroiled in my life.
‘He seems to have a warped perception... I am in a relationship with somebody - why does the complainant think I am obsessed?
‘He has the power to click his fingers when he wants to. I feel I am being pushed into a corner - yet again I am being thrashed.’
Gill, of Gravesend, Kent, denied breaching a restraining order and was convicted.
Before sentencing she asked the judge not to give her community service so that she would be able to do a full-time job.
Gill added: ‘He [Mr Pepperell] wasn’t picked on deliberately. Unfortunately he got embroiled with what was going on in my personal life. I was trying to do everything, be a mother and have a career and it took its toll on me. I was trying to change career.
‘At the end of the day I have a criminal record. If I come knocking on your door would you give me a job?’