City bank worker convicted of stalking Brighton doctor

Posted On 14 Feb 2012 at 7:03 pm

A bank auditor has been found guilty of stalking the trainee doctor with whom he shared a home in Brighton and of starting a fire at her mother’s house.

A jury at Lewes Crown Court convicted Al Amin Dhalla, 42, of harassing Alison Hewitt, 35, after their year-long relationship ended.

The jury was told that Dhalla subjected Miss Hewitt to a four-month campaign of terror.

He was found guilty of five charges today (Tuesday 14 February). They included arson and aggravated harassment.

He was cleared of two counts of putting a person in fear of violence through harassment. The jury is still out while it considers three other charges.

Dhalla was accused of setting fire to Miss Hewitt’s parents’ home near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, and trying to set fire to a nearby police station.

The prosecution said that he sent anonymous hate mail to Miss Hewitt’s work colleagues and hired a private detective to watch her day and night.

Dhalla, a Canadian who came to Britain three years ago, was arrested twice – the first time after he was spotted testing a weapon that he had just bought.

After his first arrest, on Monday 4 April last year, he was released on bail.

Four days later Dhalla was arrested a second time by armed officers at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath where Miss Hewitt was working.

Danger

Dhalla, who worked for a bank in London, went to the hospital wearing a stethoscope and white coat. He pretended to be a doctor as he tried to find out when Miss Hewitt would be working.

Her mother Pamela Hewitt and her partner David Gray had been flown to a safe address from Lundy Island after Dhalla tracked them down there at their holiday home.

After Dhalla was arrested at the Princess Royal, police found a loaded crossbow and a large knife in his hire car near by.

Richard Barton, for the prosecution, said at the start of Dhalla’s trial last month that by the time of his arrest Miss Hewitt was in severe danger.

Dhalla met Miss Hewitt in November 2009 through an online dating agency called the Executive Club of St James and they started seeing each other in the new year.

The agency had a £9,000 joining fee and was aimed at high-earning professionals.

Before long Dhalla had moved into Miss Hewitt’s Brighton home but her family raised concerns over his “unseemly haste” to marry her.

They uncovered lies that he had told her and she ended their relationship at the end of December 2010.

The jury is expected to return its verdict on the three remaining charges tomorrow (Wednesday 15 February).

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