WHEN Sasha Godwin became a single mum-of-three following a break-up, Nathan Bourke was there to help pick up the pieces.
Despite knowing him for years as he was best friends with her neighbour, she’d never thought of him romantically.
But after her split in November 2014 they grew close and three months later they became a couple.
While at first he was the perfect boyfriend, showering her with compliments and affection, Sasha began having doubts when Bourke became alarmingly clingy.
And things took a dark turn when his controlling ways became too much and she ended their relationship.
Sasha, 35, from the West Midlands, told how Bourke, 28, terrorised her for a year, even creeping into her house to take photos of her sleeping.
His behaviour became increasingly sinister, with Bourke following her on the street, bombarding her with over 100 calls a day and even threatening to kill her on Christmas day.
Sasha reported him to police and obsessed Bourke was eventually sentenced to three years for stalking – but shockingly, he was released early after just six months.
Sasha, a stay-at-home mum, tells The Sun: “Nathan made my life a living hell for a long time.
“I lived in fear every day and had to uproot mine and my children’s lives to escape him.
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“Now, he’s out again and it’s terrifying.
“All I want is for Nathan to leave me alone and to have a quiet life with my kids.”
In the beginning, Sasha told how Bourke constantly gushed over how gorgeous she was and made her feel special.
“He was fantastic with my kids too,” she recalls.
The following year, in January 2015, Sasha and Bourke became a couple.
She says: “Our relationship got very intense very quickly.
“Sometimes I’d pop round to his mum’s, but if I hung out with his family without him, he’d kick off at me because he wasn’t there.
“He became very clingy, and I started having doubts.
“Nathan was seven years younger than me, so my family warned me about him being too immature for a relationship. But I really liked him.”
In August 2016, Sasha fell pregnant.
After that, Bourke’s behaviour worsened, with Sasha feeling like he was trying to control her every move.
She recalls: “He kept telling me who I could see and talk to. I couldn’t handle it anymore.
“When I was 12 weeks pregnant, I told him I didn’t want that kind of behaviour around my children.
“Nathan became so distressed and threatened to kill himself if I ever left him.
“Because of that, I couldn’t bring myself to risk it.
“With a baby on the way too, I was trapped.”
He kept telling me who I could see and talk to. I couldn’t handle it anymore
In March 2017 Sasha and Bourke had a son.
But sadly, Bourke’s obsessive behaviour only got worse, so Sasha called time on their relationship in July 2018.
Soon after, Bourke began bombarding Sasha with text messages, begging for her back.
He also called her over 100 times a day.
Sasha says: “Terrified, I ignored him and blocked his number. But then he’d use other people’s phones to contact me.
“A few weeks later, social services appeared at my door.
“There had been an allegation that my house wasn’t safe for children, and I was using recreational drugs.
“I realised Nathan had done this to try to hurt us. I couldn’t believe it.”
Feared for her life
To Sasha’s relief, the investigation didn’t go any further, but after that, Bourke began terrorising her daily.
She says: “Nathan started hiding behind cars on the street, following me everywhere.
“Whenever I’d go to the shop he’d ambush me and yell that I was seeing other men.
“Then one night I was in bed and heard a noise. I went downstairs and caught Nathan creeping in the dark.
“Petrified, I called 999 and he was arrested.”
Despite Bourke’s arrest and being given strict bail conditions to stay away from Sasha, his campaign of harassment didn’t stop there.
For months Sasha called the police constantly, complaining Bourke was still stalking her.
On Christmas day 2018, Sasha woke up to chilling voicemails from Bourke.
She says: “He’d again called me 100 times. The voicemails were of him threatening to murder me.
“I was so scared for mine and my kid's lives.”
He’d again called me 100 times. The voicemails were of him threatening to murder me
Desperate to escape Bourke, Sasha immediately relocated her family 150 miles from North Yorkshire to the West Midlands.
One month later, in January 2019, Sasha received a text from Bourke accusing her of sleeping with a friend.
In a rage, Bourke turned up at the man’s house and set fire to his car.
He was immediately arrested and remanded in custody.
Sasha says: “Shortly after, I got a call from the police saying they’d found photos of me sleeping on Nathan’s mobile.
“The photos were all taken after we’d split up. I was horrified.”
In July 2019, Nathan Bourke pleaded guilty to stalking and arson at York Crown Court.
He was sentenced to three years.
But in December 2019, he was released early after serving just six months.
Sasha says: “It was sickening that he only served that long.
“As soon as he was out, he tried to contact me again and he was quickly taken back in for breaching his licence conditions.
“But I believe he’s out again now. I’m not sure if he’ll ever stop.
“Now our son is three and doesn’t know anything about his dad’s behaviour, and I’m not sure how I’ll explain everything to him.
“Apparently stalking increased during the pandemic, which is very concerning.
“I would urge anyone who is worried to speak to the police and keep a record of every incident.”
If you need support or are worried about someone else, call the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or contact them online.
If you're being stalked, contact the police or get advice from organisations including the National Stalking helpline on 0808 802 0300.
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