FOR months Peter Browning stalked his estranged wife of 36 years and demanded she talk to him or ‘‘You will get yours’’.
She went to police and obtained an apprehended violence order against him but he repeatedly ignored it.
He confronted her in daylight, in public, in cafes and a tavern, while she was alone or with her elderly parents and other family members.
‘‘This is stupid. I’ve been alone long enough. You’re coming home,’’ he said on January 27 last year as she sat in an Ettalong cafe with her mother, who has dementia.
When she pleaded with him to leave and said she would call police, he replied: ‘‘If you call police and I go to jail you will be sorry. I will hunt you down.’’
Two months later he did. He punched her outside her home, smashed her phone while she desperately tried to call police, chased her down, poured a jerry can full of petrol over her head and tried to light a match.
All in front of three horrified 16-year-old teenagers who had run from a neighbour’s home in response to her screams.
While they rang police and hosed petrol off the woman Browning ran back to his car, grabbed another jerry can full of petrol and tried to light it as it flowed beneath his estranged wife’s car as her mother sat in it.
In Gosford District Court on Friday Browning, 58, of Wamberal, confirmed his guilty pleas to charges including maliciously throwing an explosive substance with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, assault, stalking and intimidating his estranged wife, contravening an AVO and destroying her property.
He will be sentenced in May after spending 10 months in jail.
Crown facts to Judge Roy Ellis said Browning and his wife separated in August 2012 after she left the family home and moved in with her parents.
‘‘Since separating the accused has constantly harassed the victim and demanded she give him her reasons for leaving,’’ the Crown said.
His victim was granted an apprehended violence order several weeks after leaving him. She feared him, she said.
In February last year Browning followed his estranged wife and her parents to Empire Bay Tavern where they were meeting other family members.
As she ran to the tavern he yelled ‘‘You are going to get yours’’, before circling the tavern carpark in his car for nearly 20 minutes. After appearing at his estranged wife’s family’s table and ordering her to ‘‘Come outside’’ he was told the court order meant he wasn’t allowed to approach her.
She refused to leave her family, saying ‘‘I’m scared of you.’’
As he left he repeated, ‘‘You will get yours.’’
After he was arrested on April 5 and asked about punching his estranged wife, pouring petrol on her and trying to set her alight, Browning told police: ‘‘I don’t remember. I blacked out.’’
Police refused bail, saying his repeated breaches of AVOs showed he had ‘‘absolute disregard’’ and ‘‘contempt’’ for the court.