An award-winning chef stalked his former partner by tampering with her CCTV, a court heard.
David Watts became “fixated” with his ex-girlfriend after their relationship broke down and began spying on her when she started seeing another man, the court was told.
The highly rated chef – who admitted he wanted to “kill” his love rival – tampered with CCTV cameras his ex-partner had at her home and then revealed to her what he had seen inside while she was unaware he was watching her.
The 43-year-old was trained by Raymond Blanc at his twice Michelin starred restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, in Oxfordshire, where he spent eight years and became senior sous-chef.
He took over the Crown Inn, in Upton, Hampshire, in 2019 and it was subsequently awarded Bib Gourmand status in the Michelin guide.
Watts, who also won Good Food Guide’s Chef to Watch accolade in 2013, and Melissa Gray got together in 2021 and had a baby before things turned sour, the court heard.
Watts repeatedly turned up at ex’s house
Over a three-week period throughout February and March of this year, Watts repeatedly turned up at her home in Andover, Hampshire, and lied that his other child wanted to see the baby as an excuse to see her.
At Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court, Watts admitted one charge of stalking.
The court heard Watts would “persistently” message his ex-partner and visit her address to “to see what was going on”.
The court heard the couple had an agreement for Watts to make specific visits on set dates so he could see his child and how to communicate with his ex.
“The defendant sent messages outside of that scope, saying how unhappy he was she had contact with this other male,” Serena Edwards, prosecuting, said.
Ms Edwards said as well as attending her property unannounced, he would make comments suggesting he had been observing her from outside.
“On a number of occasions he has been caught on CCTV,” she continued.
“And admitted moving the location of the cameras, on occasions more than once in a day.
‘Defendant didn’t think behaviour amounted to stalking’
“The defendant had become somewhat fixated on Ms Gray.”
In an interview with police, the court was told he “didn’t believe” his behaviour amounted to stalking.
When asked if he was fixated with the other male, Watts admitted he was a “problem” and on one occasion even said he “wanted to kill him” in a “throwaway comment”.
Watts, who was unrepresented, spoke briefly to admit he had been to his ex’s home and had tampered with the CCTV cameras.
He was granted conditional bail and will be sentenced next month.
Last week, Watts announced the closure of The Crown Inn “due to rising costs and other unforeseen circumstances”.
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