Facebooks messaging apps, including Messenger and WhatsApp are in the process of integrating.
Facebooks messaging apps, including Messenger and WhatsApp are in the process of integrating.

Man used fake Facebook to monitor former partners

A Geelong woman had described the "physical, emotional and mental" toll 10 years after her former partner strangled her in front of their young daughter.

Corio man Craig Smith, aged 48, appeared before Geelong Magistrate's Court on Monday charged with intentionally causing injury, common law assault, making a threat to kill and persistent contravention of a court order after using a fake Facebook profile to monitor two former partners.

According to court papers, the incident occurred on February 27, 2009 after a disagreement broke out after attending a friend's house for social drinks.

The argument continued after they got home, with Mr Smith kicking the victim in the face, knocking her to the floor and kicking her stomach.

In a victim impact statement read aloud to the court, the victim said the incident was "the beginning of a nightmare that impacts my life to this day".

"I have moved often, trying to hide from him," she said.

"I do not feel safe, not in my home, not in the community and not at my work."

The victim, who made her way into the living room to get her youngest child, was knocked down and Mr Smith stomped on her head.

As they attempted to escape, the defendant grabbed the victim by the throat, lifting her up off the floor and strangling her for roughly 30 seconds before headbutting her in the right eye.

The victim said she remembered hearing her children screaming before her let her go, later collapsing as she tried to run out the front door.

"I can still hear those screams in my mind today," she said in her statement.

The victim later escaped to her mother's house, where she sought medical treatment and stayed overnight in hospital.

When the relationship ended five years later, Mr Smith threatened to kill the victim once their young child was grown up.

The court heard Mr Smith created a fake Facebook profile after the relationship ended in 2014 to befriend and monitor the mother of his daughter under the guise of being a long lost relative interested in researching his family tree.

After his second former partner posted "Karma has no deadline" he used the account - who he'd alleged had been a friend of his - to say "as will you".

"I felt anxious. I felt powerless," she said.

"I'm always watching and hyper aware of my surroundings."

After the two women made contact in 2019, they figured the same Facebook profile had been used to contact them both under different names.

When asked by investigators about the page, he admitted to "try and stay in touch".

Defence solicitor Nick Goodfellow said Mr Smith acknowledged the "serious and ongoing" effects his actions had on the two women and their families.

But Magistrate Peter Mellas said, despite the guilty plea, he had doubts about whether or not Mr Smith accepted the seriousness of his actions.

"I don't necessarily accept, to put it colloquially, that the penny has dropped," he said.

The matter was adjourned for a sentencing hearing on February 25.

Originally published as Corio man used fake Facebook to monitor former partners



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