A man who harrassed a doctor at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath has received an indeterminate jail sentence.
He was caught posing as a doctor as he pursued Dr Alison Hewitt and arrested.
A Sussex Police statement said Al Amin Dhalla, 42, who had addresses in both Brighton and London, received a minimum of six years and deportation back to Canada if ever released yesterday (June 29) at Lewes Crown Court for a series of offences committed during a three month campaign of harassment against his ex-girlfriend and her family.
The statement added that Dhalla was found guilty back in February after a four-and-a-half week trial at the same court, where the jury heard overwhelming evidence about his harassment campaign that involved arson; theft; malicious communications, criminal damage and perverting the course of justice.
Detective Superintendent Nev Kemp from Sussex Police, the leading Force in the investigation said: “This sentence sends out a strong message to anyone thinking of harassing another person in this way - we take domestic abuse very seriously and no stone will be left unturned in tracking them down and bringing them to justice.
“Dhalla is a dangerous narcissistic individual who knew no boundaries during his focussed harassment campaign against Alison and her family. No one should ever have to fear for their lives in this way following the break-up of a relationship.
“His victims had every aspect of their daily lives invaded and were made to feel incredibly vulnerable and isolated. I would like to acknowledge their bravery and thank them for working so closely with the Police investigation and in doing so, helping put Dhalla behind bars for a considerable amount of time.
“This was a very demanding all involved. Sussex Police led the successful manhunt for Dhalla which was particularly challenging due to the risk he posed and because it spanned five police forces. “I am hugely grateful to our police colleagues at Thames Valley, The Metropolitan, Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall for their tremendous support and close collaboration involving the sharing of information and intelligence that played a key part in the arrest and bringing to justice of Al Amin Dhalla.
“I feel enormously proud to be part of Sussex Police and privileged to be working with such dedicated officers who showed such commitment and worked so tirelessly on this investigation because they are dedicated to their duty to protect and serve the public.”
On passing sentence Judge Kemp said: “From the outset of your relationship with Miss Alison Hewitt you lied about your age, how long you had been in the country and your origins - claiming that you were an orphan, when clearly you were not.
“You would not accept the ending of your relationship with Alison and set about a campaign to win her back - harassing both her and her mother, Mrs Pamela Hewitt and as time went on this campaign became more sinister and serious involving setting fire with the use of accelerants to Pamela Hewitt’s home and masquerading as a doctor at the hospital where her daughter worked.”
Judge Kemp continued by referring to Dhalla’s probation officer’s report that stated that Dhalla had a narcissistic personality, was a rejected stalker and posed a high risk of re-offending.
Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Mears, who led the response of Thames Valley Police said: “This was a serious case of stalking and a successful investigation thanks to the joined-up working of the five police forces involved.
“I believe this case has demonstrated how serious stalking cases can be and how the actions of a stalker can have a huge impact on the lives of the victim and their families.
“I welcome the sentence given by the court today and would like to praise the courage of Alison and her family, who despite going through a terrible ordeal have found the strength to fully support the police investigation.”
Dhalla was arrested on 8 April 2011 by Sussex Police when he turned up at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath where Dr Alison Hewitt worked. Sussex officers had circulated his photo to hospital staff who alerted police that he had been in the hospital the previous day posing as a doctor and seeking details of the staff rota in attempts to locate Alison.
The following morning when he turned up again at the hospital, armed officers from Sussex Police quickly moved in and arrested him. A further car he had hired was found near-by, containing empty fuel cans and various weapons including a loaded crossbow in the front passenger seat.