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British Lord Chancellor's Son Pleads Guilty to Stalking

Alastair Irvine is sentenced to 16 months in prison. He will be deported when he's free.

October 25, 2002|Mai Tran | Times Staff Writer

The son of Britain's top law enforcement officer pleaded guilty Thursday to stalking and threatening the boyfriend of a woman he wanted to date.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Christopher Strople sentenced Alastair Irvine, 25, to 16 months in state prison and ordered him deported upon his release. The judge also issued a 10-year restraining order prohibiting the defendant from making contact with the victims.

The deal marks the end of a case that has been aggressively covered by the British media, which flocked to Orange County this summer after Irvine's arrest.

Irvine's father is Lord Chancellor Derry Irvine, who administers the British court system and advises on the appointment of judges. He is one of Prime Minister Tony Blair's oldest and most trusted advisors.

The Orange County district attorney's office had criticized some British reporters for mobbing the courtroom and seeking out the victims. But on Thursday, the sentencing occurred without incident.

Alastair Irvine, a bodybuilder and athlete, met Nicole Healy, 19, in June while getting a tan at the Newport Beach salon where she worked. Several British newspapers reported that Irvine was in Orange County after completing a stint at a drug rehabilitation center in San Diego for cocaine addiction.

He asked Healy about starting a romantic relationship but she turned him down, telling Irvine she had a boyfriend, police said. Irvine continued bringing flowers to the shop.

In a two-page declaration written to the court, Irvine said he went to the apartment complex where Healy and her boyfriend, Karel Taska, lived on June 6 and poured paint stripper on Taska's truck, causing $5,700 in damage.

About a week later, Irvine went to the woman's workplace with a gun in his belt, threatening Taska's life.

Defense attorney James Riddet said Thursday's settlement was "very good, despite the fact that the district attorney's office wouldn't budge."

"The family of Alastair Irvine is very grateful that we have closure in this case," Riddet said. "Alastair is relieved that he didn't face [a longer] sentence. He can never come here again, and it's fine with him. It's closure for him."

Irvine's brothers have visited him several times, but his parents remained in England, Riddet said.

Prosecutor Mike Fell said of the outcome: "It was a firm and fair sentence."

He said he was happy he didn't get phone calls from the lord chancellor.

"We appreciate he left us alone," Fell said. "He let us handle a job in a fair, judicious way regardless of who he was."

British reporters said the case won't make front page news. "I doubt there's much sympathy for him," said David Gardner, a freelance reporter for the Daily Mail. "He's a rich kid, you know."

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