'Vile' Facebook stalker jailed 12 months

·2-min read

A Melbourne man who stalked and threatened to kill his victims using Facebook messages and graffiti has been sentenced to a year in prison.

Paul Ryan, 29, from Albion in Melbourne's west, threatened nine separate victims from two families he barely knew, between October and December 2020.

He wrote violent threats on train stations and bus shelters at Roxburgh Park, Coolaroo, Lalor and Reservoir, and made abusive posters which he put up at a local shopping centre.

He also sent hundreds of Facebook messages under the name Reece Patton, threatening to cut his victims up with knives and chainsaws, and rape them with implements.

He messaged one victim when she was seven months' pregnant, saying "I am going to cut up your arms and your legs and slit your throat."

Another victim who was 14 at the time and received 400 sexually abusive and violent messages from Ryan, and photos he had taken of her at a train station.

Ryan deleted the messages straight after sending them, but his victims, who had already taken screenshots, took the evidence to police.

When police arrested him in December, they discovered a note in Ryan's backpack that was similar to the posters he'd made, along with a phone that was already signed in to his fake Facebook account.

He entered an early guilty plea on charges of stalking and criminal damage, and on Monday appeared in the Victorian County Court via videolink.

Judge Gavan Meredith described the messages as vile and extreme and noted Ryan was sentenced on similar charges in 2016, but said his low intellect reduced his moral culpability.

Ryan has been sentenced to 12 months' jail, followed by a community corrections order.

But he has already served 340 days in jail waiting for sentencing, and could be free within weeks.

Judge Meredith reminded Ryan that while he may soon be eligible for release, a breach of his corrections order could see him re-sentenced to further jail time.

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