A couple who conducted a “sustained and unrelenting campaign of harassment” against a woman, have been given suspended prison sentences after a judge expressed shock at the extent of their behaviour.

Over four years, the victim was subjected to malicious reports, covert surveillance and her medical records were illegally accessed in a hospital.

Alwyn Magee (58) and Marie Lindsay (50) both of Hillview Park, Enniskillen admitted making false reports to police, the NSPCC and the victim’s workplace superiors.

In addition, Magee planted a listening device and abused his position as a member of staff at South West Acute Hospital to access confidential medical details of the victim and her family.

Offending occurred from 2012 to 2016.

Neither defendant appeared for sentencing, but the victim joined by link from her solicitor’s office, with District Judge Eamon King remarking it was ironic she was present and her persecutors were not.

Enniskillen Magistrates Court sitting in Dungannon heard the victim and Magee had a child together but separated in 2010, and he had custody two weekends a month.

Harassment commenced the following year, with the victim hounded by both Magee and his partner, Lindsay.

During this, he made 28 covert recordings, two of which involved him questioning the child on the victim’s movements.

In 2015, the victim discovered a listening device in the child’s schoolbag, which forensic examinations revealed was activated by dialling a number to “listen in”. Calls were traced to Lindsay’s phone on 72 occasions, with a total time of 5 hours 32 minutes.

During interview Magee denied any knowledge of the device until presented with telephone records. He and Lindsay maintained this was for the child’s safety, but it emerged he had custody on some of the dates the device activated.

However, harassment was well underway long before this, with Lindsay conducting her own campaign.

She anonymously contacted the NSPCC alleging the victim was physically and emotionally abusing the child, which was fully investigated and dismissed. An allegation of a fraud was also untrue, as were numerous reports to police.

Lindsay fabricated multiple complaints to the victim’s workplace manager, and during one stated she would “let the community know”.

For several months in 2014 Magee and Lindsay drove past the victim’s home at the same time every Sunday.

A tablet owned by the defendants was found to contain recordings of the victim in her workplace, which also caught them setting it up in their car.

The offences specific to Magee, involved him assessing the personal medical records of the victim and her family, while he worked as a hospital laboratory assistant.

The Western Trust launched an investigation and while disciplinary proceedings commenced, Magee resigned before completion.

The prosecutor referred the court to “a heartfelt victim impact statement. She has had a particularly difficult time as a result of the defendants’ actions.”

A defence solicitor stated his clients have “expressed a desire to apologise for their behaviour”.

He added: “My initial suggestion was to have matters withdrawn on the basis my clients agreed to a Restraining Order. However, than wasn’t deemed appropriate.”

Judge King asked the victim if she was willing for sentencing in Magee and Lindsay’s absence adding, “I personally feel they should be in the dock in this court, but due to the current Covid circumstances, I can’t say when that will be.”

The victim replied: “It’s been a very long haul, so I think we could conclude today, for peace of mind.”

Judge King said: “It is regrettable the defendants aren’t present to hear the sentence of the court. In all my years as a judge I have yet to hear such a catalogue of harassment by two individuals against another … It beggars belief.”

He noted pre-sentence reports ruled out community service due to childcare commitments, saying “although that doesn’t seem to have been a concern while conducting a campaign of harassment over a number of years.

“ Prison is the only sentence and it’s on the cusp of immediate custody”.

Both were sentenced to five months imprisonment suspended for three years, and placed under a Restraining Order, for the same duration.