Satellite stalker bugs former wife's car

Last updated 05:00 16/09/2010

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A man arranged for a device to be planted in his former wife's car that tracked her location and allowed him to shut her engine down remotely.

He also arranged for the same device to be planted in his former mother-in-law's car.

The Lower Hutt man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty in Upper Hutt District Court on Tuesday to breaching a protection order.

The court was told that during the past few months the women's engines had stopped running for no apparent reason. Various mechanics could not explain the fault till a Wellington mechanic conducted a thorough investigation on the mother-in-law's car.

Driscoll Motors mechanic Stuart Kingston located the GPS device that tracked the vehicle and could stop feeding fuel to the engine when the man called it on a cellphone. He could call the device again to switch the electronic petrol pump back on, hiding the fault.

Mr Kingston told The Dominion Post yesterday that electronic steering and braking cut out when an engine stopped. "From a safety point of view and a sickhead point of view ... if he wanted to, he could probably have nearly killed her ... but I don't think that would have been the idea."

Mr Kingston discovered the cigarette-lighter-sized device hidden in the air-conditioning vents underneath the dashboard. The antenna was hidden between the windscreen and driver's window.

"He didn't want anyone to find it, that's for sure."

The man also admitted in court paying $6000 to a person close to his former wife to gain information on her, including her work phone number. He then called her a "large number" of times in August and either did not talk or hung up.

Earlier this year, the man was found guilty of threatening his former wife.

At a bail hearing in August, Upper Hutt District Court was told the man suffered from depression.

"He could be driven by some delusion linked to his depression," forensic nurse Chris Norris said.

The couple's five-year relationship had recently broken up. "He fails to understand why it happened and he's blaming himself."

The man has been remanded in custody until his sentencing next month.

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- The Dominion Post

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