A BALACLAVA-CLAD man caught stalking his ex-girlfriend in Warwick last week has been given two years' probation.
Otto Alexander Wendt, 51, appeared in the Warwick Magistrates Court yesterday afternoon after being arrested by police on Friday night in the laundry of a west Warwick home.
His apprehension followed a wild police foot chase after Wendt was spotted lurking in the dark in the backyard of his former partner's home, while wearing the balaclava and dark clothing.
The court was told Wendt gained entry to the yard of the residence and was spotted under a pergola by another occupant of the address, who then turned on an outside light.
A startled Wendt clambered over a fence, knocking off several palings, but returned to the yard a short time later where he was again seen and police were called.
Officers spotted Wendt running along a nearby footpath and gave chase, with Wendt leading them through several Wood and George St yards.
A female resident found him crouching in her laundry and attracted police attention.
Wendt was taken into custody with police later finding his vehicle on Pratten St, in which they discovered duct tape, rope, razor blades and women's underwear, and an apparent suicide note.
Wendt later told police he had merely wanted to "speak" to his ex-girlfriend.
Police Prosecutor Sergeant Ken Wiggan said Wendt had last year been found by police near her residence wearing a ski mask, gloves and dark clothing.
He was at the time carrying a backpack containing rolls of duct tape, lengths of rope and a small axe and was moved on by police.
Wendt yesterday pleaded guilty to eight charges including stalking, entering a premises to commit an offence, unlawful entry and obstructing police.
Sgt Wiggan commented that there was some "sensitivity" in Warwick at this time about personal safety, given the suspected homicide investigation involving missing woman Gail Lynch.
He submitted that had the female complainant been at home alone at the time Wendt entered her yard on Friday night the outcome "could have been different".
Sgt Wiggan also observed that had Wendt only wanted to "speak" to his ex-partner he "could have just gone to the front door".
Wendt's defence lawyer, Phil Stainton of Legal Aid, insisted Magistrate Graham Lee not place "undue weight" on the Gail Lynch homicide investigation when sentencing his client.
He also said Wendt's entry of the yard of the residence had been at the "lowest level" of such offending and he had not attempted to enter the dwelling.
Mr Stainton said Wendt suffered from depression and had been working on an isolated cattle property in western Queensland, which he found difficult.
He said Wendt was due to finish up on Friday, giving no indication of his likely place of residence after that time.
Mr Lee sentenced Wendt to two years' probation for the stalking offence and fined him $900 for entering the other yards, with no conviction recorded.
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