A well-known character who preached on the streets of Leighton Buzzard has been sectioned for the protection of the public.
Johann Perera, 43, a widely-known fixture around Leighton town centre – often seen with his guitar preaching messages of positivity – was convicted of stalking a pair of teenage sweethearts by a jury at Luton Crown Court earlier this month.
He was found guilty of stalking involving fear of violence, but not guilty of stalking causing alarm and distress.
The latter charge was replaced by a lesser charge of stalking, of which he was found guilty.
During sentencing on Thursday the Cambridge University graduate was detained under section 41 of the Mental Health Act, meaning that he will remain under the care of doctors at the Robin Pinto Mental Health Unit, Luton and Dunstable Hospital.
The court also made a number of restraining orders which ban Perera from contacting his two victims and their families.
He is also prohibited from going near their homes in the Leighton Buzzard area.
At the hearing Perera, who was in the dock holding a sign which read ‘Have a beautiful day’. was said to pose a serious threat not only to his victims but to also the wider community.
During his 15 month long stalking campaign the 43-year-old sent 457 emails and 88 letters to his victims.
Of those emails, 173 contained voicemail attachments.
The court heard that in one email Perera told his female victim, with whom he was infatuated and said was his ‘wife’, that her boyfriend was in ‘grave danger’.
He added: “God destroys adulterers.”
In another Perera said he was scared for the boyfriend’s safety, as he knew drug addicts and people with ASBOs who could “come round and sort him out with knives.”
Prior to sentencing Judge Stuart Bridge was told by a doctor in charge of Perera’s psychiatric care that the 43-year-old suffered from delusions and had suffered a relapse of schizophrenia.
The court heard that this rendered the 43-year-old’s reasoning ‘impaired’.
The doctor added: “(Perera) told me that he would like to find someone better than the victim, he said he is looking for someone new.”
Perera’s female victim said in a statement that the harassment had caused her deep psychological problems.
It stated: “Johann Perera has taken my trust of people away from me and I cannot ever get that back”.
Of the victim Judge Stuart Bridge said: “She considered the contact at first to be, in her words, a ‘bit crazy’ but harmless.
“She became very scared by Perera’s correspondence and actions.
“Both victims were extremely frightened by what could happen to them.”