A STALKER who left a woman so terrified that she fled Scotland to escape his advances avoided a jail sentence yesterday after a court heard he believed God wanted them to be together.
Taxi driver Lovemore Chirwa, 41, bombarded Primrose Masunda, 27, with letters, phone calls and texts – and even offered to ‘buy’ her from her parents – after they met at the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, in Paisley.
Chirwa, who was already married to someone else, also turned up at Masunda’s house with flowers and followed her in his taxi.
Giving evidence at Paisley Sheriff Court, the victim cried as she told how she had to leave the country because she couldn’t cope with his unwanted advances.
Chirwa, who is originally from Zimbabwe but now lives in Linwood, had denied causing Masunda fear and alarm by hassling her for almost three years.
He only admitted his guilt after she broke down while facing him during the trial.
The court earlier heard how Masunda alerted the police to Chirwa’s unwanted advances six times before he was arrested.
Between August 2011 and June last year, he texted and called Masunda to ‘declare his love,’ before offering money to buy her from her parents.
When she didn’t return his calls, he began following her and contacting her mum, uncle and their pastor.
He also copied pictures of her from Facebook, using them as his profile photo on mobile messaging tool WhatsApp.
The images were captioned ‘my future wife’ and ‘the gift of my life.’
Defence agent Scott Banks claimed Chirwa, who is now divorced, was guided by strong religious beliefs and had been assessed by social workers as being ‘low risk’ when it comes to the chances of him re-offending.
Banks said: “His position towards Miss Masunda was and is, as he now accepts, mistaken.
“He thought this girl was the woman for him. He thought his initial approaches were of a friendly nature and were well received.
“He harboured a misguided hope and desire that these advances would be reciprocated. He proposed marriage to her.”
The lawyer told how Chirwa, who is a first offender, lives a “lonely existence” and works every day but faces having his taxi licence revoked by Renfrewshire Council.
Sheriff Colin Pettigrew told Chirwa it was only his “lack of violence” that spared him a jail sentence.
Instead, the accused was ordered to complete 250 hours of community service within 12 months.
Sheriff Pettigrew told him: “I take nothing away from your religious beliefs but, when your religious beliefs traverse into the civil law of the country, clearly I have a jurisdiction.
“Despite repeated rebuffs by Miss Masunda, you continued to pursue her.
“This was stalking.”
Sheriff Pettigrew also imposed a non-harassment order on Chirwa, banning contact or attempted contact with the victim or her family for two years.
This article was originally published by The Daily Record