A serial stalker and domestic abuser who terrorised four women over the period of seven years today (Friday) walked free from court.
Social workers said Mark Boucher - who harassed one of his victims from his prison cell and even threatening to decapitate any man she was in contact with while he was locked up - was not suitable for a community sentence.
He twice breached a community payback order last year, while social workers said they didn’t want him on a domestic abuse reform course because of his “entrenched attitudes”.
A sheriff today told him her “instinct” was to send him to prison - but that the “longer term protection of the public” would be better served by setting him free.
Boucher made a string of threats to his ex-partner after he had already been locked up over other offences.
He had faced a lengthy jail term after he admitted stalking her, as well as three other ex-partner.
Boucher made the threats to her after he was last year spared jail for posting a picture of himself on Facebook brandishing a huge machete - then threatening to butcher her.
Even while locked up he claimed he could access her social media accounts to check up on her.
Dundee Sheriff Court heard “controlling” Boucher had harassed all four of his victims during and after their relationships - even accusing them of being unfaithful when he himself was seeing other women.
He demanded of one of them that she send him pictures to prove where she was and would turn up to meet her at her work early to check up on her.
One victim branded him a “monster” and told how he started off their relationship “bubbly and nice” - but later turned into an “intimidating, controlling” thug.
And while with another ex-partner he repeatedly criticised her to the point where she gave up on going out with friends.
She broke up with Boucher when she found out he was seeing another woman - but he continued to harass her with calls and letters.
With a third ex-partner, he would make offensive remarks to her and constantly harass her while she was out with friends - on one occasion calling her 40 times in a single night.
Describing the final stage of his harassment of his more recent partner, fiscal depute Vicki Bell told the court: “He contacted her from prison and said he had access to her social media accounts.
“He admitted he was stalking her from prison.
“He called her 14 times from prison and his voice could be identified in the recordings.
“He was obsessed with her being unfaithful and said he would decapitate any male she was in contact with.
“He would shout that he didn’t care if he gets years in jail would eventually get out.
“At one point he whistled as if to another prisoner and said ‘get to her house’ before naming the street where she lived.”
Boucher, 28, a prisoner at HMP Perth, pleaded guilty on indictment to four charges of stalking committed between October 2007 and January this year at locations in Dundee, Perth and Forfar.
Solicitor advocate Jim Laverty, defending, said: “He accepts full responsibility for these offences.
“He understands his behaviour would have caused fear and alarm to the individuals mentioned.”
Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC imposed a community payback order with 230 hours unpaid work, three years’ supervision and a restriction of liberty order confining him to his home from 7pm til 7am daily for three months.
Non-harassment orders banning him from contact with his victims for five years were also issued.
Sheriff Drummond said: “It is clear that you are not assessed as suitable for a community disposal.
“It is therefore my instinct to send you to jail for all these matters.
“However, I’m of the view that the most important thing in terms of protection of the public is to address your offending attitude.
“That could be done by sending you to prison and supervising you on release, but it is probably best done over a longer period in the community.”
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Sergeant Gordon Patullo of Police Scotland’s Domestic Abuse Task Force said: “Stalking behaviour can have a devastating impact on the victims. It can make them feel like they are no longer in control of their own lives and leave them constantly living in fear.
“In this case Mark Boucher stalked four victims over a period of time, by repeatedly calling and texting them, attending at their home addresses and other places he knew they would be.
“This investigation was carried out by Police Scotland’s Domestic Abuse Task Force. Mark Boucher’s conviction and sentence should send out a clear message that Police Scotland will robustly and sensitively investigate all Domestic Abuse related crimes helping to ensure we keep people safe.”