Edward Best, 26, was stopped by security while sitting on a plane at Dublin Airport before it departed for New York after he was alerted as wanted.
Best, from Chicago, was attempting to flee back to the US after he flew to Manchester to stalk a woman he had met online. He is accused of barricading the woman's cousin in a house in Greater Manchester for three hours while armed with a hammer.
After being nabbed at Dublin Airport, Best was taken back to north Wales by Irish police to be met by Greater Manchester Police's specialist officers who arrested him and took him back to a custody station in Greater Manchester for questioning.
After admitting to a number of offences, Best has been jailed for seven years.
According to Greater Manchester Police, Best had been in a three-year online relationship with a woman in Manchester, but the woman had blocked him online due to his aggression and strange demands.
On September 16, Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard how Best’s online relationship with the woman from Hyde had deteriorated and prompted him to become increasingly aggressive and obsessive – sending her up to 100 messages a day and threatening to murder and rape her corpse – before he flew to Manchester Airport on March 22 to go to the house she was living at.
Best, then aged 25, proceeded to visit the woman’s home and observe outside. He spent the next 12 days moving between three different Airbnb accommodations and renting a car from a local dealership in Ashton-under-Lyne so he could stalk the woman's address.
The court was told that on the evening of April 3, Best jumped over the back wall and broke into the woman’s address while armed with a hammer. However, once inside, he only found the woman’s cousin who was there to look after the family cat while the woman and her family were on a weekend break.
The cousin, aged in her 20s, was then subjected to a frightening ordeal for the next three hours as Best locked the back door and barricaded the front door with furniture while holding a hammer to the victim’s face and getting black tape out of his rucksack while searching around the property.
The victim was able to text a friend to get to the address and to call 999 before her friend and their partner arrived and looked through the window to see the victim mouth the word "help."
The victim was able to escape through a front window while Best fled from the back door and jumped over the wall before running off with the hammer still in his hand.
While Best was escaping, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) were called to the incident and began an urgent manhunt to identify Best and track him down to where he had run off to.
Detectives from GMP's Ashton CID worked with GMP's fugitive finders from the Force Critical Wanted Unit while Best was making his way to Birmingham with a view to flying back to the US.
Best missed his flight by 40 minutes and instead traveled to Holyhead in Wales where he boarded a ferry to Ireland. However, in Ireland, he was stopped by security while sitting on a plane at Dublin Airport before it set off to New York after he was alerted as wanted.
While being questioned back in Greater Manchester, Best told investigators that he admitted to making online threats to his former partner but did not have any intent to do anything about it.
He also said to detectives that he did not make the woman aware he was coming to the UK and he acknowledged he had repeatedly harassed and stalked her online.
Best was charged with false imprisonment, aggravated burglary, possession of an offensive weapon, and stalking.
He admitted stalking his ex-partner between January and April, false imprisonment, attempted false imprisonment, and possession of an offensive weapon. On September 16, he was sentenced to seven years for those offences.
Detective Constable Emily Blair, of our Ashton CID, described Best as "obsessive and aggressive," and that his actions were "perverse."
“Once Best was found by his victim’s friends, his intent was to run away from his crimes and go back to America to avoid the consequences," Blair said, "but our swift response from our specialist team of officers meant we were able to hunt him down and bring him back to Greater Manchester so he can now rightly face justice.”