A man thanked magistrate for not activating his suspended prison sentence after he admitted breaching a restraining order.

Callum Brown maintained he never intentionally entered Wood Vue, Spennymoor, and ran away from the area after he was followed by a car.

The 31-year-old wrote a letter of explanation to the magistrates sitting at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court and pleaded with them to read it before sentencing him.

Lesley Burgess, prosecuting, said the defendant had been spotted by the woman, he was barred from going near, when he was around 200 metres from her home at the weekend.

She said: “He stopped, turned around and started walking away.”

In a victim impact statement, the woman said she had been left feeling fearful after she spotted Brown near her home.

She wrote: “I’m terrified of Brown. I feel helpless and just waiting for something to happen to me.”

The court heard how a one-year restraining order was imposed in January to protect the woman and her family.

Brown, of Frederick Street, Seaham, pleaded guilty to breaching his restraining order.

Robert Willoughby, mitigating, said his client had not been given a map of the area he was barred from entering when he was made subject to the restraining order.

He added: “He was going to a friend’s house and didn’t realise that he was entering Wood Vue.

“He wasn’t aware where they lived and is still not aware of where they live. He didn’t contact them and didn’t want to contact them.”

Mr Willoughby said Brown ran away from the area when he was followed by a car. “He thought the people in the car were looking for him or were going to attack him,” he added.

See more court stories from The Northern Echo by clicking here

Get more from The Northern Echo with a digital subscription. Click here

The Northern Echo:

The court heard how Brown had been working with the Probation Service since he was made subject of a suspended sentence.

Alan Adams, the chairman of the magistrates’ bench, extended Brown’s suspended sentence for an additional six months and ordered to pay £197 in fines and court costs.

Brown, who was told his restraining order was being extended to five years, thanked the magistrates for the sentence.

He said: “Thank you so much. I swear on my daughter’s life that I never tried to contact them.”