POLICE have welcomed the jailing of a former county cricketer for stalking and condemned his actions towards two former girlfriends.

As reported by the Guardian yesterday, Thursday, Grant Hodnett was jailed for 18 months for stalking a woman causing her serious alarm or distress.

The 41-year-old South African batsman, formerly of Gloucestershire and Grappenhall cricket clubs, also breached a restraining order imposed to protect a previous stalking victim.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how the defendant, of Birch Close in Rixton, signed the first victim up to receive numerous emails, messages and calls for newsletters and services including cigarette companies, alcohol charities, and multiple therapists and counsellors.

In one instance, the victim had been subscribed to counsellors and described as being a ‘highfalutin person’ and a ‘habitual liar’.

He also breached a restraining order against a previous victim by entering London Road in Stockton Heath while banned.

Against this victim, he previously signed her up for adverts and calls from foreign numbers and sent her father erotic photos of his daughter adult modelling.

Over the course of the investigation launched by Cheshire Police’s harm reduction unit, Hodnett was arrested twice.

On the first occasion, he was aware of police interest in him and attempted to conceal evidence by hiding his mobile phone, laptop and tablet before surrendering to custody.

Further enquiries also resulted in officers arresting Hodnett on a second occasion, where they were able to recover these devices, along with other evidence of his offences.

Following the sentencing, PC Keith Terril, investigating officer from the harm reduction unit said: “I welcome the sentence handed by the courts in this case.

Grant Hodnett was jailed at Liverpool Crown Court

Grant Hodnett was jailed at Liverpool Crown Court

“Grant Hodnett is a serial domestic abuse perpetrator, and these convictions clearly demonstrate he is either unable or unwilling to accept his victims’ decisions to end their relationships with him and to leave them alone or adhere to orders from the courts.

“Hodnett evidently hoped that by using the internet and prompting third parties and businesses to contact the victim, he could cause maximum distress from afar and avoid being caught.

“However, he failed to account for his digital footprint which led straight back to him, proving that the internet offers no sanctuary to those who wish to commit violence against women and girls and domestic abuse.

“His offending has understandably left his two victims shaken and distressed.

“Commendably, both victims described wanting to help keep other women safe as one of their reasons for contacting police, and thanks to their bravery and strength shown throughout this investigation, Hodnett has been held accountable for his actions and is facing a spell behind bars.”

DS Dave Thomason added: “Stalkers wear many masks and are often experts at manipulation and deception.

“Sometimes, the most dangerous stalkers are those who project the narrative of their own victimhood, shielding themselves from their own shadows; rejecting reality to safeguard their fragile self-image.

“I hope that this sends a message to communities in Cheshire that we will do our utmost to keep you safe, but secondly to stalkers, that we are relentless in our pursuit of the truth and will leave no stone unturned.”

The harm reduction unit is a specialist risk management service delivered by Cheshire Police in conjunction with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the Probation Service.

Thanks to additional funding secured by Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner, it was expanded in October 2023 to include a dedicated investigation team taking primacy for the most serious and complex stalking investigations.