A domestic abuser who installed a fake letter box, beat a woman and used false identities to make the lives of women hell, has been convicted.

Robert Preece, 40, of Palmerston Road, in Westcliff, was covicted by a jury of GBH with intent, burglary, stalking, robbery, ABH and criminal damage at Chelmsford Crown Court today.

In June 2017, a woman victim was approached by Preece as she sat in her car near shops in Melbourne, Chelmsford.

He then leaned into her window and punched her in the face.

As the woman attempted to drive off, she was punched in the cheek and suffered a fracture to her right cheek bone and a black eye.

The attack followed her recent ending of her relationship with Preece, who she knew as John Perry.

Following the attack, Preece went into hiding in London before starting a relationship with a second woman in Essex in February 2018 under his false identity.

The relationship only lasted three months before Preece started a campaign of stalking and harassment.

This included sending letters to her home, getting a locksmith to change her locks, attempting to cancel her bank cards and constant messages and calls.

He even installed a letterbox at the home while she was working in America to try and intercept her mail and broke into her home through her roof as she slept.

Preece went into hiding a second time and started a relationship with a third woman.

In October 2018, he smashed the woman’s car window following an argument and broke into her home.

He assaulted her and took her possessions, including her phone, before being located and arrested.

Acting Detective Sergeant Gavin Tuck, of Chelmsford Domestic Abuse Investigation’s Team, said: “Robert Preece is a dangerous man who showed a complete disregard for the three women in regards to their physical, emotional and psychological well-being.

“He went to extreme lengths to avoid detection following an unprovoked assault, including hiding in London and changing his name.

“The fear that he put the women under was immense and again shows what type of threat he is.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all for their strength and courage, despite Preece’s campaign of emotional and physical abuse.

“I hope that they can move on with their lives knowing that he is now out of theirs for many years.”

Preece is due to be sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court on May 2.