A MISOGYNIST who hid beside isolated footpaths and bike tracks and "jumped out" at females was locked up last week.

Mark Russell shadowed and terrified ten women walkers or joggers, out taking their coronavirus daily exercise during the first lockdown, across Clackmannanshire and in Fife.

Alloa Sheriff Court heard he Russell, 34, held "extreme, misogynistic views" about women – and had been identified since primary school as having a personality disorder and problems with empathy and authority.

Sheriff Neil Bowie, who jailed him for more than 15 months, said all his victims were females, either alone or in pairs, sometimes with their children.

He said: "The locations were isolated, on the majority of the occasions the first lockdown was in force, social distancing rules applied, and there was limited time for exercise.

"You have clearly demonstrated no remorse – indeed the opposite. It's been described that you have a very misogynistic attitude towards women."

The court heard about Russell's "weird and alarming" six-month campaign in which one complainer, a 60-year-old woman, became "so unsettled" that she feared to go out alone.

Prosecutor Susannah Hutchison said: "In December 2019, she became aware of him passing on his bicycle and entering a wooded area near her home.

"She initially thought his behaviour was unusual. As the weeks passed, she became aware of him stepping out behind her as she passed."

One evening, in January, 2020, as she was returning home about 9.10pm, he stepped out then walked "very close" behind her for 30 yards.

His behaviour became so unnerving that she would not leave her house alone.

Russell was traced and warned over that incident. However, less than two months later, two women, aged 40 and 44, saw Russell "turn to face them" as they were out running on an old railway line near Dollar.

He "unsettled them" so much that they immediately turned and run back the way they'd come.

After a full mile they suddenly heard footsteps behind them and Russell then ran between them. "Fearful", they slowed to let him get ahead.

Ms Hutchison said: "He then also slowed, so they slowed further. This continued, with the accused slowing to the pace of the women until all three were at walking pace."

The following month, a 46-year-old mother, walking with her children on the same old rail track, found Russell less than three feet behind her.

She kept increasing her pace but was continually matched by Russell, who remained "uncomfortably" close behind her.

Eventually she and her children were running, and Russell was running, too, "adjacent and in close proximity".

The mother then slowed to a walk. Russell "ran on for three or four metres, then also slowed to a walk".

Eventually he turned up some steps, then turned back, and walked straight towards and then past the woman, who was "by now very fearful".

On April 21, 2020, about 4.25pm, he shadowed and terrified an 18-year-old woman on Back Road, Dollar, before hiding in bushes.

On May 3, 2020, he was arrested and released after giving an undertaking that he would "stay away" from cycle paths and popular walking routes.

He breached this only four days later, lurking in bushes beside the Clackmannan to Dunfermline West Fife Way cycleway, "staring" at two 28-year-old women walkers, "appearing, looking towards them, returning to the bushes" then following them closely and "mirroring their pace".

He also "scared" a 31-year-old woman running on the same Devon Way cycle track with her 11-month-old baby in a buggy; a 52-year-old woman walking home in Alva one evening from a parish church meeting; and a 58-year-old woman who was running alone on a country road near the Linn Mill Bridge landmark, over the Black Devon River.

In this case, Russell, having concealed himself near the historic bridge, wordlessly emerging as she passed.

Ms Hutchison said: "The way he jumped out gave her a fright, and made her feel uneasy."

She ran off as fast as she could, and, after reading about similar incidents, she contacted police.

Russell, of Dollar, appeared for sentence by video link after pleading guilty in October to eight offences of threatening behaviour and a ninth of breaching an undertaking, all between November 21, 2019, and May 7, 2020.

Solicitor Erin Monaghan, defending, said: "He has been treated since primary school for antisocial behaviour, problems with empathy, authority, and being isolated, and has been diagnosed with a personality disorder.

"His views are extreme. They cannot be described in any other way – they really are extreme.

"He has anger problems; his offending is very, very specific; and it's concerning."

Sheriff Bowie ruled at an earlier hearing that there was "a significant sexual element" to Russell's crimes.

Russell was then jailed him for a total of 462 days, backdated to November 18 when he was remanded in custody.