A MAN who made his former wife’s life a misery after their break-up, has been told not to contact or approach her, or risk a prison sentence.

The warning was given by Judge Simon Hickey to defendant Andrew Heppell, 41, after he admitted a charge under the Protection from Harassment Act.

Jonathan Harley, prosecuting, said following their split last September, after a two-year and three-month marriage, Heppell, “engaged in a series of communications and a course of conduct” which harassed his ex-wife, a former police constable.

The court heard she quit her police job because he made her feel “worthless”.

Mr Harley said Heppell ignored a police warning and, later, a non-molestation order, carrying on with his campaign of harassment.

It included sending messages to her bosses in her new job with the North-East Ambulance Service, alleging she was an alcoholic and aggressive, and, therefore, unsuitable to work in such a role.

He also wore a t-shirt depicting a pig in police uniform bearing her former collar number at a gym used by some of her ex-colleagues.

Dan Cordey, mitigating, said the self-employed builder and plumber, of Thorntons Close, Pelton, was “unstable” following the marriage break-up, but ended the behaviour in January and is now in a new relationship.

Judge Hickey told Heppell: “This was persistent misconduct and had an affect on your former wife.

“There appears to be some remorse and a recognition of a need for help.”

Heppell received a two-month prison sentence, suspended for a year, and must attend 20 probation-supervised activity sessions.

A five-year restraining order was put in place to prevent him trying to contact or approach his former wife, but enabling him to carry on in his lawful working life.

The judge told him: “This is all designed to address the behaviour to ensure none of this happens again. Do you understand this?

Heppell responded: “I certainly do. Thankyou.”