Jail for stalker mum on threats

A ROCKHAMPTON woman who bombarded two victims with threatening and abusive text messages, and threatened to molest and murder an eight-year-old girl, wept as she was sent to jail.

Celine May Huff, 34, a single mother with sole custody of an 18-month-old daughter, was sentenced to 12 months after eventually pleading guilty to two counts of stalking.

She changed her plea three days into her trial at Rockhampton District Court.

Judge Koppenol adjourned sentencing to this week so Huff could be assessed by a psychiatrist. And although it was revealed that Huff had serious mental health issues, chronic depression and post traumatic stress disorder, the judge said he could not accept that she was not aware of the harm she was causing during her offending.

The court was told Huff sent 75 texts to a former partner in which she made threats to kill his father and brother, and more than 100 messages to a woman, some of which indicated she planned to murder her daughter.

The offences were committed in mid-2008, two years after Huff's long-term relationship with one of her victims had ended.

Crown prosecutor Clare Kelsey said Huff finally admitted her guilt after three days of listening to the evidence and descriptions of the harm and distress she had caused.

"When she heard the evidence she broke down in tears and said she couldn't believe what she had done," she said, informing the court that Huff's mental condition went some way to explain her behaviour.

Nevertheless the Crown called for a custodial sentence, a lengthy period of supervision and a restraining order.

Jeff Clarke, defending, pointed to Huff's lack of a criminal history and that in the three years since her arrest there were no suggestions that she had re-offended.

"She has a complex and damaged personality. She suffered a great deal of distress and trauma in her life and she was not on medication when she sent the texts," he said.

"She hates herself for what she did."

Huff, who left school after completing grade nine, is on a disability pension and previously worked as a cleaner and kitchen hand.

During summing-up and sentencing, Judge Koppenol said the female victim had suffered serious psychological harm as a result of receiving texts, some of which were seen by her children.

"Your conduct was disgraceful and gravely serious and there were serious negative impacts on the second complainant and her children," he said.

The judge said Huff had told outrageous lies to police to hamper the investigation and bizarrely claimed at one point that she was the victim of a stalker who sent her abusive texts. It was later proved she had sent those messages to herself. But he accepted the risk of her re-offending was "quite low".

"It is important you get treatment or counselling but there needs to be a clear signal given that conduct of this nature will not be tolerated. You need to be punished for what you have done," he told her.

Huff was sentenced to 12 months jail, with an order that she be released from custody after three months. On release she will serve a period of probation for three years during which time she must attend psychiatric counselling. She was also banned from making any contact with either of her victims for five years.

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