AN “obsessed” man convicted over a campaign of harassment with a much younger woman was told not to even mention her name in social media posts, at the risk of a prison sentence.

The warning was given to defendant Maurice William Foster as he was sentenced for stalking the woman, between November 2016 and May 2017.

Durham Crown Court heard Foster knew the victim as the daughter of a family friend and initially she saw him as a sort of “uncle” figure, with whom she was happy to meet for a cup of coffee on occasions.

But as she grew into her late teens she preferred to socialise with people of her own age and began to rebuff his requests.

Jonathan Harley, prosecuting, said this did not deter Foster, who began sending her more messages, which became sinister in nature as they continued.

His activities included threatening harm to her boyfriend, as well as threatening to make spurious allegations to have him thrown off his university course, including claims he had cheated in exams.

Foster also then implied the woman’s place at university could also be put under threat as he could tell course leaders he had a compromising video of her which her boyfriend had circulated among his friends, insinuating it was pornographic.

He gave her “opportunities” to meet him to prevent this footage becoming public knowledge.

Mr Harley said although the woman sent him a message making it clear she did not want to meet him and that she had not been taken in by his threat to blacken her name with her university, there was evidence he contacted a youth drama group with which she was involved questioning if she was a fit person to to work with younger members of the troupe.

He also turned up at her work place and bus stops she used.

When police were informed he was arrested, and his computer equipment was seized containing images of the woman, as well as pornographic images featuring women resembling her.

Foster, 47, of Brancepeth Avenue, Fencehouses, admitted a single count of stalking.

Jamie Adams, for Foster, said he has spent more than two months in custody.

Judge Christopher Prince told him his activity caused the woman, “alarm and distress”, and said he appeared “somewhat obsessed” with her.

But having read background reports outlining his low self-esteem, social isolation and mental health issues from which he suffers, Judge Prince passed a three-year community order to include 30 work sessions with the Probation Service.

An unlimited restraining order was put in place preventing him approaching or contacting the woman and Judge Prince said Foster must not even mention her name on social media or he would risk a prison sentence.