A JEALOUS and controlling husband who stalked his wife for nearly two years by impersonating her school boyfriend has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Paul Playle set out to humiliate and degrade his childhood sweetheart and wife of 27 years, Amanda, by assuming the identity of Anthony Reynolds.

The 43-year-old set up email and Facebook accounts to send messages purporting to be from the ex-boyfriend she met at school.

But his comments became sinister, revealing he was watching her and had a detailed knowledge of her personal life.

At the same time, he played the role of a loving husband by comforting her while she became a recluse at the hands of her stalker.

Even after being arrested and released on bail, Playle continued to send threatening messages, which only stopped when he was remanded in custody.

Sentencing him at Lewes Crown Court on Wednesday, Judge Christine Henson said the evidence was “overwhelming”, adding: “You are the author of your own fate. You watched your wife effectively crumble before you because of the fear she was experiencing from this online abuse.

“You pretended to comfort her. That is the most calculating and cruel behaviour.

“You’re in complete denial of your crime.”

Dressed in a blue T-shirt, Playle, of Bexhill, East Sussex, lowered his head and cried in the dock.

Nursery worker Mrs Playle, who watched as her husband was led to the cells, said she was affected so badly by the “unbelievable” ordeal that she had considered suicide.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, she said she would never understand why it happened, adding: “I am terrified to leave the house, go to work or the shop across the road. I panic when my phone goes off.

“I’m embarrassed and I burst into tears for no reason.

“To think it was the one person I believed I could always trust. I no longer trust anyone anymore.”

Playle repeatedly denied being responsible, claiming he had been “stitched up”, but a jury took less than 30 minutes to convict him of stalking and coercive and controlling behaviour.

The pair met when they were 16 and Mrs Playle said she was faithful to him during their marriage, adding: “We had hard times but thought we had a stable family.

“My children are devastated. My eldest daughter is a totally different person since the trial.”