UK

Art dealer who stalked woman weeps in dock as he is jailed for nine months

An art dealer who stalked a woman he had dated for less than a month and sent her a letter sprayed with his Chanel aftershave wept in the dock on Thursday as he was jailed for nine months.

Earl Grinhaff, 45, refused to ‘take no for an answer’ after company director Tiffany, 36, ended their brief romance two summers ago.

Tiffany, who has asked that her last name not be reported, told jurors at Southwark Crown Court how she met ‘charming’ Kensington art dealer at a bar in July 2019 and that the relationship had deteriorated into ‘bickering’ a month later.

She claimed that Grinhaff turned up unannounced at her home late at night, continued to send her messages after she blocked his phone number, and even tried to push a bouquet of Waitrose flowers through her window. 

Tiffany recounted how Grinhaff also angrily banged on her window, prompting her to leave home and stay with her parents. 

The court heard how Grinhaff dropped a handwritten letter into Tiffany’s address, sprayed with the Chanel Allure aftershave she had bought him. 

Earl Grinhaff (pictured outside court), 45, from west Kensington, denied stalking Tiffany Coulter after their relationship ended in August 2019 but was convicted on Thursday

Tiffany said on September 2 2019, she woke up at 4am to discover that a window in her home had been smashed.

Grinhaff was arrested the following month on October 7, and denied his actions amounted to stalking.

However, jurors at Southwark Crown Court disagreed and took five and a half hours to convict Grinhaff of stalking causing serious harm or distress, with a majority verdict of 10-to-one.

Upon hearing the verdict, Grenhaff stepped back and sat down heavily before holding his head in his hands.      

The judge, Ms Recorder Rosina Cottage, QC, said: ‘You were convicted by the clearest evidence… of stalking Tiffany with whom you had a brief relationship.

‘As a result she was terrified, she had to leave to go to her parents, you banged on her window.

‘I make no finding whether you broke her window, I don’t need to, the jury have found you guilty.

‘This case is so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified, you know that anyway.’

The judge sentenced Grinhaff to nine months imprisonment, but he will be released today because he earlier served five months in custody while on remand.

Grinhaff was in tears as he was told he will walk free.

The judge also put a restraining order in place for three years, preventing Grinhaff from going to Tiffany’s house or having any contact with her.

She said: ‘You must not go to her home, you must have no contact whatsoever, you mustn’t speak to her, no phone calls, no Whatsapp messages from you or anyone on your behalf.

‘Should you breach this I must warn you that you will be committing a further offence, punishable with up to five years imprisonment, so don’t breach it.’

Grinhaff, who was initially taken downstairs to the cells, but told he will be released, said: ‘This is just bizarre, absolutely bizarre.’

Giving evidence he claimed he was just trying to find out why their relationship had deteriorated and only went to Tiffany’s home to return her possessions.

‘She just said that my behaviour was unacceptable and she was cutting it off. She said that she didn’t want me to be in a relationship with her.

‘I never threatened her, I would never do that. I do not ever want to get back with her.

‘I wanted to understand how it had gotten to the stage it had, it had deteriorated like that, it was bizarre.

‘I didn’t smash the window, that was nothing to do with me.’

He also denied calling Tiffany ‘f****** b****’, adding: ‘That is not in my vocabulary.’

Prosecutor Emily Lauchlan asked the art dealer: ‘Were you obsessed with Tiffany?’

Grinhaff replied: ‘Are you obsessed with me? No, I wasn’t obsessed with her…’

Ms Lauchlan said: ‘What were you doing outside her flat at that time?’

Grinhaff replied: ‘Jet-skiing.’

At Southwark Crown Court, the judge sentenced Grinhaff to nine months imprisonment, but he will be released today because he earlier served five months in custody while on remand. He was also slapped with a three-year restraining order

At Southwark Crown Court, the judge sentenced Grinhaff to nine months imprisonment, but he will be released today because he earlier served five months in custody while on remand. He was also slapped with a three-year restraining order

He added: ‘I didn’t think five calls would cause her to stress, the last thing I wanted to do was for her to feel distressed.’

Grinhaff, who owns a high-end art consultancy in West Kensington, said: ‘I wasn’t desperate but I really liked her, she was really good to me, I really enjoyed my time with her.

‘I honestly don’t know why I’m here,’ he said.

Asked about the claim he dropped off a letter sprayed with Chanel Allure aftershave he said:

‘I didn’t spray it, but if she said it smelled of the aftershave she got me then yes, I do wear it.

Tiffany had sent Grinhaff a message which read: ‘You have scared me today, and your behaviour throughout the weekend has been unstable.’

Ms Lauchlan said: ‘He knew, from that very first day, the impact he was having on her.’

Timothy Banks, defending Grinhaff, said: ‘The prosecution’s case is a harsh one.

‘You saw him yesterday, he talks too much, you might think. “Is this prosecution a sledgehammer to crack a nut?”

‘Five voice messages in three days? I accept there should not have been five, but there wasn’t fifty, or a hundred, it is not bombardment, and you heard the messages.

‘How might you describe my client? These are my comments: pain in the a***, pathetic, self-pitying, just plain annoying?

‘Are those words you could link to him? Maybe, but in all seriousness, a stalker?

‘Some victims are traumatised by the contact, it is relentless for months or years, there is no time to breathe.

‘That is not this case, the high watermark in the crown’s case is ‘f****** b****.

‘Not nice, but, I choose my words carefully, she overreacted.

‘You can think: “Actually, didn’t like him, didn’t seem particularly pleasant”, I can see why she had enough, but not guilty.

‘A sledgehammer to crack a nut? It is, isn’t it?’

Grinhaff, of West Kensington, denied, but was convicted of stalking causing serious harm or distress.   

 

Advice on how to report a stalker in the UK and available support can be found here. In addition,  the National Stalking Helpline offers help and advice over telephone or email.

In the US, help and support can be found here and through the National Center for Victims of Crime.

In Australia, help can be found at 1800RESPECT.


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