A man who planted a hidden camera in his former partner’s home and watched her obsessively says there is no excuse for what he did — and he knows he’s ruined her life.
Sean Kershaw (38), of Linnetsfield Walk, Blanchardstown, Dublin, was given a three year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to harassment on dates between January 1, 2021 and April 11, 2021 at Phibblestown House, Castaheany, Dublin.
Kershaw hid a computer tablet in her kitchen and recorded his ex, their daughter and his ex’s new partner for 36 days before she spotted the device hidden behind a boiler.
He also stood outside her house and watched her through her window and accessed her WhatsApp messages and emails, which were forwarded to his email.
Kershaw told the Sunday World that he had a mental breakdown after their marriage ended and became jealous and obsessive. He said he is currently in counselling and knows what he did was wrong.
He also revealed how he has become a pariah in his local area and a girl he dated recently said she didn’t want to see him again after finding out about his past.
“I know she [his ex] doesn’t want anything to do with me. I’ve ruined her life. I’ve destroyed her life. I am the talk of the town. I met a girl online maybe six weeks ago. After work we met for a drink in town. We were chatting and everything was grand, there was a spark and everything else.”
But he said the woman then found out about what he did to his ex and said she couldn’t meet him again. “She was like ‘I’m sorry I can’t.’ I’m really sorry too.
“It’s a very, very unusual thing for someone to do to someone, especially when it’s your ex-partner. There’s a whole heap of past trauma and stuff which I’ve been seeing my counsellor about which could lead up into it. Still there’s no excuses.”
The couple’s marriage ended in 2020 and around the same time Kershaw lost his job and went into a downward spiral.
“I’ve had 14 months of living with it every day and even at the time in my mind I thought ‘I can’t be doing this, I can’t be doing this’.
“We broke up in 2020 and I took it quite hard. I was struggling to find somewhere to live. With Covid I lost my job three times. Depression set in. I had Covid in January last year. My mum nearly died.”
He said after the break-up he became very isolated and had a misguided hope they would get back together.
“Isolation and loneliness peaked in January . I found out she was seeing someone and I shouldn’t have seen that and it just sent me into a spiral. I had a mental breakdown.
"The good thing from it [was] as soon as things were happening, I got help.
“I had been on anti-depressants before and I was seeing a counsellor but I was like ‘I need to nip this in the bud’. There was trying to do the right thing but also doing all this s**t stuff.”
He explained how he hid the tablet in the apartment in a place where he thought it would go unnoticed.
“I put it above the boiler overlooking, I wanted it to watch the table. You have the sitting room and table and can partly see the kitchen but it was more for the table,” he said.
He said he was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) last year and he feels this contributed to his actions.
“It’s like putting a V8 engine on a go-kart. [I thought] this isn’t normal behaviour and why am I reacting to this.
"I have been reading a researching more into [ADHD] in terms of my own headspace and past trauma, trying to work through things as much as I can. Otherwise it would have just consumed me. I wouldn’t be here,” he said.
As well as secretly recording his ex and reading her WhatsApp messages and emails, Kershaw also went round to her house and looked in her window at her.
On one occasion she got out of the bath and he was staring in the window.
“It was the first time I had seen them together and I could see through the window and I put my ear up; it was just paranoia.”
Kershaw said his probation officer said he was at high risk of reoffending as he didn’t seem anxious when he met with him.
“There was a probation officer and that didn’t turn out very well. To read his report, which said I was a high risk of reoffending. It said I showed a lack of anxiety. I’ve had this for 14 months and I’ve been trying to deal with it and every time I’ve gone to meet him, I’ve always gone early so when I’m in there, five 10 minutes before seeing him I’m saying to myself calm down, breathe.”
He said he was upset when the judge said what he did was vile and insidious.
“It still rings in my mind what the judge said. It’s a vile insidious act to put on someone. I mentioned it to my counsellor yesterday and she was saying ‘that’s very harsh words to say. It’s resonating with you’.”
He said he has no intention of reoffending and will not bother his ex ever again. “I was grieving because she was with someone and I didn’t know how to deal with that grief.
“The camera [from talking to my counsellor] is an issue of abandonment. My intent was never to spy. Never in a million years.”
He said he thinks he should move to another area as he currently lives around 200m from his former partner.
“The best thing for me is to move away from the area. There’s too many bad memories. Just being out on a daily basis and wondering if I’ll bump into anyone. A lot of the time when I’ve seen anyone, I’ve gone the other way.
“When I’m out cycling and walking and they’re glaring at you, you know you’ve done wrong but you feel like [crap].”