A DRUG user developed an obsession with his advisory counsellor who worked with him to help him overcome his amphetamine addiction, a court heard.

Wayne Hudspeth told her she had “broken his heart” when she reported criminal damage caused by him to police, saying he thought he could trust her.

He complained when he was referred to a different counsellor after his original worker moved offices and then bombarded the drug and alcohol recovery service with numerous messages trying to contact her.

Durham Crown Court was told at one stage having been denied access to her, he broke into her office at midnight as he believed she was working late.

Such was his persistence that it led the counsellor to make changes in her work schedules, while she stopped going out of the office at lunch-time and ceased going to the gym worried that she may bump into him.

Jonathan Walker, prosecuting, said as Hudspeth’s fixated conduct continued the counsellor decided only to work part-time and removed an advert for her services from the internet.

Mr Walker said the course of conduct lasted a year, until June.

In her victim statement, read to the court, she said was trying to make a difference to people’s lives, to help them move away from substance abuse, but felt Hudspeth did not want to give up taking drugs.

She said his harassment left her “petrified” and had a “substantial effect” on her life.

Mr Walker said: “It was a persistent course of conduct over a prolonged period of time, maximising distress to the complainant, who had to make significant changes to her lifestyle.”

Hudspeth, 38, of Bowes Road, Newton Aycliffe, admitted a charge of stalking.

Duncan McReddie, mitigating, said a psychiatrist who assessed the defendant did not consider him a “dangerous” offender, while a probation report said he poses a “medium risk” of re-offending.

Mr McReddie added that the psychiatrist put the defendant’s offending in recent years down to his drug-induced psychosis.

Judge Christopher Prince imposed a three-year prison sentence and made Hudspeth subject to a restraining order prohibiting contact with the woman, “until further order”.

He told Hudspeth: “You chose to take significant quantities of amphetamine and behave in the manner you did to a public-sector worker. It was behaviour you knew, or ought to have known, would cause harm or distress in a sustained campaign.

“It’s not a case of being infatuated with someone. You may have felt it was someone on your side, but you turned particularly nasty to her.

“You decided to behave in a deliberately mean and upsetting manner to her.”