A man twice walked into the home of a teenage woman uninvited, despite having previously been warned to “back off”, all while subject to a suspended prison sentence.

Liam James Haines had previously been in an on/off relationship with the victim’s sister, but there had been no past contact with her younger sibling.

Durham Crown Court heard he began messaging her from about April last year, all of which she ignored, giving Haines no encouragement or reason to suppose she had any interest in him.

The Northern Echo: Liam Haines received a 16-month prison sentence at Durham Crown Court for stalking a teenager girl

Chris Morrison, prosecuting, said despite her disinterest, Haines' messages, however, became slightly more “suggestive”.

Mr Morrison said the recipient of them informed her family and a relative made contact with Haines to tell him, “in no uncertain terms, to back off”.

Despite that, on a day when the victim was alone at home, in July last year, Haines, “without any encouragement”, walked in through the unlocked door and came across her in her bedroom.

Haines told her: “Anyone can just walk into your house, you know.”

Mr Morrison said when asked what he was doing there, Haines told her he was, “bored”.

He then left, leaving the young woman in shock, but he returned ten to 15 minutes later, before again departing.

“It left her quite scared and frightened, and, as a result, she was left feeling unstable.

“There were no threats made so it was not the aggravated form of harassment.

“But there was some distress caused and this was after he was, ‘warned off’, so there was some degree of persistence.”

The Northern Echo:

The 32-year-old defendant, of Victoria Street, Shildon, admitted stalking, causing harassment without violence.

Mr Morrison said it put the defendant in breach of a 20-month prison sentence, which was suspended for two years, in October 2022, for attempted sexual communication with a child, having chatted online with what he believed was a 13-year-old girl, but which was actually a bogus profile posted by police.

Following his arrest last July for the stalking offence police found three devices he had previously failed to declare, breaching the terms of his Sexual Harm Prevention Orderput in place when he was convicted in October 2022.

Amrit Jandoo, for the defendant, said, relating to last year’s stalking offence, that the defendant may have wrongly believed he had received “mixed messages”, but the warning he received from a family member of the victim, “clearly didn’t have the desired effect, and that’s where his downfall is”.

Mr Jandoo said the defendant is in a stable relationship of his own, has made no further attempts to contact the victim and has held down a job as a chef for 17 years.

Judge Jo Kidd disputed the suggestion Haines “misread” the signs, given the age disparity and the warning he received, and ignored.

She told Haines he was warned about committing any further offences within the time frame of the suspended prison term, but he clearly showed, by his actions, that he was “sexually interested” in the teenager whose bedroom he twice entered while acting as, “a trespasser”.

See more court stories from The Northern Echo by clicking here

Ex-serviceman ran harassment campaign on Sacriston neighbour

Darlington man jailed for stalking campaign and harassment

County Durham sex offender poses 'a danger to women'

Get more from The Northern Echo and start 2024 informed with 50 per cent off an annual subscription or enjoy 3 months for just £3. Click here 

“How frightening that must have been, when you had already been warned about your conduct, and you were subject to a suspended sentence order.”

Imposing a 16-month prison sentence, Judge Kidd also put in place a five-year restraining order prohibiting the defendant from approaching or contacting the victim of the stalking offences

He also remains subject to the Sexual Harm Prevention Order put in place when he was given the suspended prison sentence in October 2022.