A STALKING doctor preyed on his victim over a prolonged period and published private sexual photographs of her on social media.

Matthew Ashley Foster-Smith stalked his ex-partner by attending the same gym at the same time in November, despite a non-molestation order being in place.

After a release from prison for previous convictions, the 41-year-old saw his victim’s car at a support group in February and phoned the group to get through to her.

Foster-Smith, of Garland Road, Poole, “made sure he was seen” by his victim over a “long period”.

He also created Instagram accounts where he posted explicit images of his victim.

Foster-Smith then entered a new relationship which was described as "relatively short" in court.

After this break-up, he sent messages to his friend threatening to get an axe and “****” the women up, stating: “If I’m going to get banged up, let’s make it worth it.”

He was arrested on June 21 after his friend reported the messages. Initially he denied all allegations, however, he later pleaded guilty.

A statement from one of the women read out at Bournemouth Crown Court on October 8 by Catherine Flint, prosecuting, said: “I am suspicious of new people. I have nightmares regularly and have trouble sleeping.

“I have had to endure the humiliation of telling family members and friends at work.”

Ms Flint said it was a "persistent action over a long period", adding: “Images were circulated on Instagram which, at the beginning of this year, had 23 million users in the UK.”

Nick Robinson, mitigating, said Foster-Smith has autism spectrum disorder and, and despite being “very intelligent”, was “emotionally immature”.

He said Foster-Smith had expressed his deep regret at the harm he caused, telling the court he was very insecure due to his life unravelling in his 30s when both his parents died.

Mr Robinson asked for Foster-Smith, who admitted the charges at an earlier hearing, to be punished in the community as he “wants to change and can change, with the right support”.

Sentencing the defendant to 18 months in prison, Judge Brian Forster QC, said: “It is unbelievable you could treat someone who once cared for you in such a way.

“Your purpose throughout was to make her life a misery and that is what you achieved.

“The stalking was deliberate and thought out.

“You achieved what you set out because she lost confidence and her life was undermined by your actions.

“That was not sufficient, because you then disclosed private photos of her of a sexual nature. In doing so, you executed a plan.

“You were involved in sending a communication to another, it was so bad that that person who received it reported the content.

“Making the threat of getting an axe and even making the comment ‘if you were going to get banged up make the most of it’.

“This was repeated and planned behaviour and has had a considerable impact on the victim.”

As well as the 18-month prison sentence, an indefinite restraining order was put in place in relation to both the victim's and a forfeiture order made on the phones, SD cards and USB sticks with the explicit images.