A Royal Ballet photographer sent his ex-girlfriend a sex toy and a picture of her dog ‘drowning’ in a three month campaign of harassment to try and win her back.
Andrej Uspenski, 38, bombarded ex girlfriend Tatjana Novitjenko, 35, after she broke up with him because he had become possessive.
In a bid to get his girlfriend back former ballet star Uspenski sent Ms Novitjenko a sex toy for her birthday as well as aggressive texts and emails and flowers to her flat in Chelsea, west London.
The pair had enjoyed an eight month whirlwind romance until April last year when Ms Novitjenko broke things off as their sex life as “boring and conventional”.
Uspenski struggled to get over the break up and Ms Novitjenko, who owns three Chihuahuas, was granted a court order to stop Uspenski contacting her in July.
But the Russian born former ballet dancer continued his campaign of harassment until he was arrested and charged.
In October he sent the sex toy to her home as a birthday gift.
Along with the gift was a card with a photo of a Chihuahua ‘drowning’ as well as a photoshopped pair of Louis Vuitton shoes and a love heart.
Prosecutor Katie Bryan told Westminster Magistrates Court: “When the defendant moved into the victim’s home address he was aggressive and protective at the beginning of their relationship.
“He moved out but left some items behind.
“He sent a number of angry messages to her and she told him to stop contacting her but he continued and attended her dance studio and started telling people that she had aborted her baby.
“On 31 August the victim received a text asking for receipts for his photography business and on the 14 September the victim returned home to find flowers with a note that read ‘this time last year I kissed the most beautiful girl in the world.’
“It was signed with his name.
“On 19 September she received two emails in Russian after a photoshoot she had done which read ‘What is this pose, a Baywatch photoshoot’.
“In the second email he said he apologised for contacting her and said that he had forgotten about the seven year silence rule.
“In October the victim was on holiday for her birthday and her friend sent her a message to say that a gift has been received on her behalf, it was a double ended dildo.
“There was a card with it and the defendant had written ‘life is that serious, oh yes, life is that serious, but not really.’
“On the front of the card a picture had been photoshopped to show that her dog was drowning in the Thames.”
Reading Ms Novitjenko’s witness statement she said: “It does not make any sense, we had a boring conventional sex life.
“It shows that he has thought about it and that he has put effort into it, the thought process does not make any sense, which is why I am concerned.”
Ms Bryan added: “Leaving flowers on her doorstep and then photoshopping and sending offensive material, he knows it is unwanted.
“When the relationship is finished she makes that clear that she does not want to hear from him.
“The police serve a harassment notice but he continues.”
Uspenski, of Hampstead, north London, pleaded guilty to harassment without violence at a previous hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court.
He was handed a 12 month community order and a rehabilitation activity requirement for 25 days.
He is also under a lifetime restraining order not to approach or contact his ex-lover and was ordered to pay £85 costs and £85 victim surcharge.
Raphael Steele, in mitigation, said: “This was a short, intense and passionate relationship and when it came to an end Mr Uspenski struggled to get over that.
“When they were together the complainant was dealing with Mr Uspenski’s finances and that was the reason that he was maintaining contact to get details of his accountant so he could continue his business.
“It was quite obvious that the messages were unwanted from the harassment warning he received in July.
“Mr Uspenski was quite upset and distressed, he wanted to try and be amicable with her, to be friendly, he did not mean any malice.
“In the text messages that he sent the seven years of silence are of him reading the harassment warning, he meant ‘I know I am not supposed to be contacting you but I just want to try and be friends.’
“The relationship started professionally, he was helping to develop her social media profiles, so when he saw the images that he said were ‘Baywatch’ he was saying ‘I thought we had an idea of where we were going with this.’
“With regards to the present of the double ended dildo and the pictures on the birthday card Mr Uspenski loved her three Chihuahua dogs.
“He wanted to put in some of her favourite things, the things she likes, a pair of Louis Vuitton shoes, a love heart and her dogs swimming.
“It was not an image of a dog drowning, Mr Uspenski loves the dogs and would never do anything like that.
“With regards to the double ended dildo, it was a long standing joke so that when he went out to the shops she would say what she wanted and then at the end say ‘oh and a double ended dildo’.”
Uspenski danced at the Royal Ballet as first artist and performed in Swan Lake after joining in 2002 but was forced to retire in 2015 due to an injury.
He has since gained worldwide notoriety as a ballet photographer and has published several photography books
Chairwoman of the bench Carolyn Mishon said: “This was a pre-planned period of harassment, you ignored the notice that was given to you by police.
“I am imposing a restraining order until further notice, this is necessary to protect the victim in this case.”