A mother who was stalked by her ex-husband – who fitted a GPS tracker on her car – has spoken out about her ordeal following his release from prison after just three months earlier this month.
Electrician Stuart Carless, 46, subjected his wife Victoria Miles, 46, to three months of harassment, bombarding her with calls and texts after she ended their 14-year marriage in September 2018, convinced she was talking to other men.
But his obsession took a more sinister turn when Ms Miles, who shares a 14-year-old son with Carless, received a notification from Amazon informing her a GPS car tracker would be delivered that day to their home in Prestatyn, Denbighshire, Wales.
A mother who was stalked by her ex-husband – who fitted a GPS tracker on her car – has spoken out about her ordeal following his release from prison earlier this month
Wanting to be certain before going to the police, Ms Miles, a nurse, later went to a local garage check out her car, where they found the fitted tracker.
By coincidence, a CID officer was there at the same time and advised her to remove it with gloves and place it in a sealed envelope before taking it to the police.
Ms Miles made a statement at the police station and Carless was arrested and later pleaded guilty to stalking his wife at Mold Crown Court in January 2019.
Despite being jailed for 14 months, Carless was released on 5th April, just over three months into his sentence, leaving Ms Miles living in fear of bumping into her obsessed ex.
She said: ‘It’s hard to believe that all of this happened to me and it doesn’t even feel real sometimes.
‘My life has been completely shattered – I could never have guessed that things would end this way.’
Electrician Stuart Carless, 46, subjected his wife Victoria Miles, 46, to three months of harassment, bombarding her with calls and texts after she ended their 14-year marriage in September 2018, convinced she was talking to other men
Ms Miles first met Carless in an online chatroom in November 2003.
She said: ‘After talking online he came to visit me in Wales. He lived at the time in Essex.
‘Within three months he had moved in and I was pregnant with our son. He was self-employed at the time and had no friends, so his world completely revolved around us.’
But cracks began to show early on in the relationship, with feeling her husband would ‘always sweep things under the carpet’, and was a ‘big spender’.
By September 2018, feeling stifled and unhappy with the marriage, she finally decided to call it a day, hoping for an amicable split.
‘I felt like I wasn’t really living and I’d been unhappy for a long time – nothing was ever smooth-sailing with Stuart,’ Ms Miles explained.
But his obsession took a more sinister turn when Ms Miles, who shares a 14-year-old son with Carless, received a notification from Amazon informing her a GPS car tracker would be delivered that day to their home in Prestatyn, Denbighshire, Wales
‘I noticed I became a different person around him, quieter and less sociable.
‘I knew I’d been pushing him away for a long time but had never had the nerve to actually put an end to the marriage.
‘Whenever I tried to talk about it, he’d promise to change and convinced me we’d be happier, but when a family friend died unexpectedly, it put things into perspective for me.
‘I realised that if I were to die tomorrow, I’d die unhappy. I told Stuart I would move out – which was a massive decision, because it meant not living with my son.’
Ms Miles moved in with a friend nearby in mid-October and ‘felt like a massive weight had been lifted’.
‘I felt amazing,’ she said. ‘The difference in myself was obvious, but then after a few days Carless came over with flowers.
Wanting to be certain before going to the police, Ms Miles, a nurse, later went to a local garage check out her car, where they found the fitted tracker
‘I asked him to leave but he came again the next day with the post, and again I asked for space. All I needed was a bit of time, but it didn’t seem likely that he’d give me it.’
Her gut feeling was right, and she soon started receiving a flurry of calls, often from withheld numbers.
She said: ‘It was constant and I knew it was him from the start. If I wasn’t getting a phone call, it’d be verification codes from WhatsApp as he tried to hack into my account – I’d get four or five of those a day.
‘He seemed completely fixated on the idea that I was on WhatsApp chatting to other men.’
Ms Miles changed her iCloud account that she’d previously shared with Carless, starting to worry, and checked their joint bank account – only to find it cleaned out.
‘I called and asked what he was doing and he immediately transferred half back, but he wouldn’t give me any straight answers and just denied being the person behind all the calls,’ she said.
By coincidence, a CID officer was there at the same time and advised her to remove it with gloves and place it in a sealed envelope before taking it to the police. Above: the tracker as it was found on Ms Miles’s car
Ms Miles’s dad, John, 71, also started to get inundated by calls from Carless and, bizarrely, so had an old friend she had studied with at university.
‘I realised he’d managed to access my phone contacts – and all the while he was still calling me endlessly,’ she said.
‘On his normal number, he’d call and be crying and begging me to come home.
‘I picked up in case it was about our son, but Stuart would use him to make me feel guilty, crying down the phone to me with our son next to him.’
Ms Miles was signed off of work with stress in late October, after Carless started calling Julie’s mobile and house numbers.
She said: ‘I realised he could only have got her phone numbers from work. He worked for ClwydAlyn Housing Association and Julie’s house is a ClwydAlyn property.’
When she stopped answering the calls and ignoring the texts, her ex-husband took the harassment up a level, taking to following her.
Despite being jailed for 14 months, Carless was released on 5th April, just over three months into his sentence, leaving Ms Miles living in fear of bumping into her obsessed ex
She said: ‘I didn’t really think he’d just give up, but soon after I’d blocked the calls, I saw him out and about.
‘Julie and I would drive to Tesco and turn the corner from her road in the car and suddenly he’d be there. He followed behind us and I was paranoid the whole time, looking over my shoulder for him.’
Starting to grow more concerned with Carless’s behaviour, Ms Miles changed her number and bought a pay as you go sim card.
But she was stunned to find he had locked her out of her email account the next day – and to verify the account she needed to input her new phone number.
‘It meant that he had a number to reach me on, and the endless ‘no caller ID’ calls started up again straight away – and the WhatsApp verification codes,’ she said.
‘I called Microsoft and explained the situation, wanting to remove him from my account, but there wasn’t much they could do.’
The tracker in its box after it arrived in the post from Amazon
On Facebook, messages she had never read appeared opened, and she realised he had access to the majority of her accounts.
Her brother Andy, 42, was acting as mediator so she didn’t have to directly talk to Carless for updates on their son, but when he asked for her to come and iron his school uniform she decided to go – and record their conversation.
‘He was so convincing when he denied what he’d been doing that I half thought I was going mad,’ Ms Miles said.
‘He denied everything when I confronted him, but I later played it to friends and they could tell he was lying.’
Carless soon started sending her letters – all begging her not to give up on their marriage, and continuing to guilt her over her son.
Wanting advice on how to handle the situation, she called the police and they issued him with a warning – but it made little difference.
She said: ‘He was still showing up at Julie’s house, even when I wasn’t there. Her neighbour came over a couple of times to let us know a man had been hanging around outside.’
On 25th November, she received an alert on her phone from Amazon, notifying her that an order for a GPS vehicle tracker was out for delivery.
‘I took a screenshot straight away – I just knew he would put it on my car,’ Ms Miles said.
‘He’d had access to it before when I’d gone around to iron, as he’d always offer to charge my electric car up.’
Wanting to catch Carless in the act, she allowed him to charge her car, a Mini Countryman, outside the house as usual when she went to see their son that evening.
‘Andy went outside with him as I hadn’t been able to fill him in, so that must have scuppered his plan to put the tracker on,’ Ms Miles explained.
‘I was alone in Jane’s house a few days later when I started getting explicit pictures and sexual messages on WhatsApp.
‘I responded to say if they didn’t stop I’d be in touch with the police – obviously I knew it was Stuart.’
She decided to file for divorce and went to her old house to get their marriage certificate, but found a far more sinister item.
Inside a drawer was an empty SIM card packet – matching the number that had been harassing her on Whatsapp.
She nervously decided to check her car, and got down on her hands and knees to see if she could spot anything.
‘I thought I could see something but even when I took a photo it wasn’t clear,’ she explained.
‘It looked a bit like the picture of the Amazon tracker, but Andy and I decided we needed to be 100 per cent sure.’
Ms Miles took her car to a local garage and, this time, they were able to take a clear picture.
A CID officer happened to be passing by when they found the tracker and advised she remove it.
She explained: ‘He told me that whoever had installed the tracker would know I was at a garage and they could come and remove it themselves – which would be evidence lost.
‘We removed it with gloves and put it in a sealed envelope in the glove box of my car.’
As she was driving home, Ms Miles was startled to catch sight of Carless running across the road, and knew he’d been following her.
‘My friend, Rachel, from work had been handing sick notes in for me, so I arranged to meet her and her husband as normal.
‘We met in a car park and I explained what was happening. Her husband headed home and the minute he left, Carless car came around the corner.
‘We didn’t see him at first as we walked along the promenade in Kinmel Bay beach, but when we turned to head back we saw him crouched down watching us..’
The pair raced back to the car and sped off to Rachel’s house – but, again, Carless followed.
They went inside, but a few minutes later a neighbour knocked on the door to say a man was outside looking at Ms Miles’s car.
‘I called the police and they asked me to come in and make a statement,’ she said. ‘He continued to call me even while I was at the station.
‘He asked where I was and I just said I was at my brother’s – but he knew I was lying and said I’d left my car unlocked. He knew exactly where I was.’
Carless was arrested that night and warned not to go near or contact his ex-wife – something he almost immediately ignored.
She said: ‘I got a Christmas card a few days later from him with a letter inside. He said he knew it was wrong to get in touch but he was taking a chance.
‘I called the police again. I felt bad, but I was worried he’d do something to me and didn’t want to take any chances.’
He was re-arrested and appeared at Llandudno Magistrates Court for section 4a stalking.
‘I didn’t know if he’d be released again so I was worried, but I went back home with my son and changed the locks,’ she said.
‘I’d been supported by an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor, Annie, throughout the process and she called to let me know he’d been remanded.
‘I just broke down. It was hard to take it all in.
Carless appeared at Mold Crown Court in January 2019, pleading guilty to stalking his wife between October and December 2018. He was jailed for 14 months.
‘I went to court – I wanted to go and hear it all for myself, so I sat in the gallery and didn’t see him,’ she said.
‘I couldn’t listen to the defence though, it was awful.
‘They said he didn’t know what he was doing, but he did. Giving my victim impact statement was so hard, because the effect on my life has been massive.
To add insult to injury, Carless is now back in employment with the housing association, who Vicki says have given him a property
‘I was out of work for six months and my relationship with my son has really suffered.
‘He’s only 14 and shouldn’t have been used as a pawn in all this, but Stuart wrote to him from prison – he referred to me as “that person you live with”.’
Carless served a quarter of his sentence and was released on Friday 3rd April, and will be on tag until July.
‘I’m not scared of him, just of the unknown,’ Ms Miles said.
‘But I do struggle. I have anxiety, I need sleeping tablets, I’m very isolated. Life is very hard.
‘It was purely coincidental that I got the Amazon notification and met the CID officer – maybe someone is watching over me. If not, I might even be dead by now.’
To add insult to injury, Carless is now back in employment with the housing association, who Vicki says have given him a property.
She said: ‘He’s even back employed by ClwydAlyn. How can someone like that be allowed to go into people’s houses and be trusted?
‘I’m probably going to lose the house because, as he knows, I can’t afford the mortgage alone. How is that fair?’
Elaine Gilbert, Director of Human Resources, Communications and Marketing for ClwydAlyn said: ‘We do not comment on the personal lives of individual employees.
‘However, we are mindful of our responsibilities to all our residents, colleagues and the wider community, and can confirm all our activities are both rigorously and regularly risk-assessed.’