A MAN who believed a police officer had a grudge against him carried out a course of stalking behaviour on him and sent a “grossly offensive” message to his wife.

Durham Crown Court heard that the officer had three “interactions” with David Morton in his policing role within a few months.

Morton felt he was being targeted by the officer and made a professional standards complaint against him.

Chris Baker, prosecuting, said the officer pulled over Morton for allegedly riding a motorcycle without a valid licence, on May 15.

Morton refused to give his details but was told he was being reported for driving without a licence and his motorcycle would be seized.

Mr Baker said the defendant became abusive and refused to hand over the keys.

He briefly left the scene but returned and was again abusive to the officer, who said he was only interested in the alleged motoring offences, to which Morton said he was only interested in the officer’s wife, naming her.

Mr Baker said the officer was concerned the defendant knew his wife’s name, so he returned to the patrol car and allowed a colleague to deal with Morton.

But Morton knocked on the vehicle window, as if “goading” him, saying he wanted the officer to go to his house without his uniform.

He also said he would see the officer and his wife in their home town, naming it, making them worried he appeared to have researched personal information.

The officer deactivated all his social media accounts, but two days later his wife received a lewd message from Morton, referring to her husband as, “a paedo”.

Morton also left an indecent message about the officer’s wife on a note left for police on his kitchen window.

Mr Baker said the officer felt “sick to the stomach” and “violated” by the messages.

When he was arrested, Morton behaved aggressively and repeatedly coughed at officers, who had to place a spit guard over his head.

Morton, 29, of Jane Street, Stanley, admitted stalking and sending a malicious communication.

Andrew Finlay, mitigating, said Morton felt “frustrated” at the officer, but during his first taste of custody for the last five months, has had time to reflect on his actions.

Imposing a 15-month prison sentence, Judge James Adkin described it as “bizarre behaviour” against someone Morton perceived had a grudge against him. A lifetime restraining order prohibits Morton from contacting the officer or his wife.