An oil company geologist who stalked a woman he met on a flight from London to Aberdeen has been ordered to stay away from her.
Costel-Valeriu Ignat caused extreme distress by following the woman to her children’s school, an ice-skating rink and even to the airport as she disembarked from another flight.
Ignat met his victim on a previous flight as they worked in similar professions, with the woman offering to inform him of job opportunities at her firm.
But it wasn’t long before his attention became too much and he began appearing at places without her consent.
Despite an initial period of friendship, the married woman decided she no longer wanted Ignat, 32, in her life.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard that over the course of almost two months, Ignat persisted in contacting her, following her as she shopped and even turned up at her home requesting to speak to her husband.
Accused was waiting for her at airport arrival gate
Fiscal depute Lydia Ross told the court that both Ignat and the woman stressed that their relationship was “purely a friendship only”.
The court heard they first met around June last year when they were seated next to each other on a flight to Aberdeen from London and got chatting about their jobs.
The woman gave Ignat her business card and he added her on LinkedIn where they chatted before moving the conversation to WhatsApp.
In October 2022, the woman informed Ignat of a job opportunity within her company.
He applied for the job, which was a junior position to her, but things did not progress due to visa issues.
In January, Ignat asked the woman to order a book for him and they arranged to meet to hand it over.
The following month, Ignat emailed the woman’s manager “demanding” a job offer for the position they had discussed before.
Mr Ambrose told the court: “After that, the complainer contacted the accused via WhatsApp informing him she didn’t want any further interaction due to him becoming too intense.”
However, between February and March, Ignat repeatedly messaged the woman stating it was “killing him not being able to contact her”.
On March 20, Ignat messaged the woman while she was on a business trip in London.
She replied saying she did not wish to speak to him, but when she flew back into Aberdeen the following day, Ignat was waiting for her at the airport.
The woman left quickly in a taxi but later messaged him to apologise due to feeling guilty.
Woman became stressed when accused turned up at home
Two days later, Ignat sent her a photo of the bus stop closest to her house, stating he’d passed by her home and had been waiting for two hours.
A further message stated he would come to her house the next day.
At this point, the woman told him he was “stressing” her and causing her health issues.
Ignat sent several further messages regarding his plans for the coming days.
At 9am on March 24, the woman was driving home after dropping her children at school when she saw Ignat walking towards her house.
She stopped to ask him what he was doing and he said he was going to her house to ring her doorbell.
A short time later she found Ignat on her driveway about to ring her bell and “escorted” him to a nearby bus stop.
Ignat, a Romanian national, told her he “wished to speak to her husband about their friendship”, but she told him not to contact him.
She left him at the bus stop and went home, but Ignat remained walking around the area messaging her.
Around midday, he messaged saying he was outside her home and she told him her husband would be returning shortly.
He replied saying he would return to the bus stop.
The next morning, she spotted Ignat at the beach while taking her daughter ice-skating and again on Union Street later that day.
On March 26, Ignat attended a gymnastics event at the woman’s daughter’s school, despite being told not to.
He eventually left when the woman’s friends told him to go and it was then his conduct was reported to the police.
Mr Ambrose said the woman was strongly in favour of a non-harassment order being imposed.
Ignat, of Castle Street, Aberdeen, pled guilty to stalking between February 1 and March 26.
‘It has all come to such a horrible end’
Defence agent Liam Mcallister told the court that it was clear there was an initial friendship between the pair but that his client had “allowed this to move into the realms of criminality”.
“Mr Ignat has never done this before and he accepts that it got to that level of intensity,” he said.
“He has distressed many individuals and he is deeply ashamed I did that.
“It was initially about a job opportunity but it has all come to such a horrible end – he knows what he did was inappropriate and wrong and he will forever blame himself for this.”
Sheriff Shirley McKenna told Ignat that he “clearly does not know what ‘no’ means”.
She added: “You certainly misjudged this type of relationship and you misjudged the signs.”
Sheriff McKenna fined Ignat a total of £640 and put a non-harassment order in place – meaning he has to stay away from the woman for four years.
“You must not approach this woman in any shape or form – it’s a jailable offence if you do,” she added.
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