A man stalked by a former Queen's University academic who threatened to "slaughter" his family said he is devastated his tormentor has been allowed to leave Northern Ireland.
Dr Patrick Martens (35), who was a psychology research fellow at Queen's University in Belfast, waged a hate campaign against his former colleague.
The former nightclub bouncer and martial arts fanatic last week pleaded guilty to nine offences, including seven threats to kill and two of harassment.
His victims were a well-respected senior academic and his wife, both of whom he threatened to kill in a six-month campaign, when he engaged in more than 500 explicit phone calls, emails and letters.
Martens was due to be sentenced at Craigavon Crown Court yesterday.
However, the court was informed his young son had been rushed to hospital in Germany.
A defence lawyer told Judge Patrick Lynch the youngster was in a critical condition.
The judge granted Martens' bail to return to Germany to see his son, fixing a later date for sentencing, next month.
The judge warned if he failed to return, he would be subject to extradition proceedings.
Last night the senior member of staff at Queen's, who Martens targeted, said he was distraught the case had been prolonged.
"Myself and my wife are just devastated," said the academic, who asked not to be named.
"We have had to live with this for over two years. We thought it would finally be put to bed today.
"Now we know he is out again and could be anywhere."
Martens was granted bail on the sum of £100.
Judge Lynch yesterday hit out at the disgraced former academic, describing his campaign of abuse and threats as "despicable" and "disgusting".
The defence lawyer said Martens appeared to be moving on with his life and suggested a lengthy suspended prison sentence would act as a suitable deterrent in future.
The threats to kill and harassment took place from August 17, 2011 until January 10, 2012.
Martens arrived at Queen's having been disciplined in relation to harassing others at his previous university in England in 2008.
A short time after arriving in Belfast, a complaint was lodged with Queen's by a women who claimed to have been harassed.
His academic victim, as harassment officer, then came into contact with Martens as a result.
Martens – half-German and half-English – travelled from Hamburg to plead guilty to the offences on Thursday and was remanded in custody until yesterday.
He has been receiving extensive psychiatric treatment in his homeland over the past year.
Medical assessments read to the court last week claimed Martens suffers from a range of mental disorders including obsessive behaviour, the symptoms of which he has displayed since the age of 14.
Meanwhile, Queen's University has outlined what steps it took when the allegations against Martens came to light.
"In August 2011, an academic member of staff brought to the attention of the management of the university an allegation of personal harassment by a school colleague, Dr Patrick Martens," said a spokesman.
"Having carefully considered the matter, the university moved to immediately suspend Dr Martens on a precautionary basis pending the completion of formal investigations by the PSNI.
"In undertaking this action, the university sought to ensure the protection and safety of the academic member of staff and his family, as well as all students and staff.
"The university obtained two high court injunctions preventing Dr Martens from entering Queen's facilities and from going within five miles of the home of the academic member of staff.
"Following the university's internal investigation, Dr Martens was dismissed from Queen's on September 22, 2011 and a court injunction remains in place preventing him from entering the campus.
"The university recognises the trauma the academic member of staff and his family have had to endure over the last two years. During this period, the university has provided direct support to him and his family."
"Myself and my wife are just devastated. I couldn't believe my ears when I was told. We have had to live with this for over two years and we thought it would finally be put to bed today. Now we know he is out again and could be anywhere. It's a nightmare."
Victim of Patrick Martens