A MOTHER of two young children was stalked by a man she met at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.
Magistrates in South Tyneside were told retired gas fitter John Murphy was spotted by witnesses parking his white van for periods of time outside his victim’s home in Jarrow on several occasions.
He also watched her drop off her two children at a school in the town.
The court heard that Murphy, 65, of Wellesley Street, Jarrow, had met the woman at an AA meeting in 2006 and became a ‘father figure’ to her.
The friendship ended the following year when the woman made an allegation against him. The stalking campaign began last summer when Murphy walked past her home, saw the woman, and formed the opinion she had been drinking.
Murphy, who admitted conduct that amounted to stalking, said he started to follow the woman because he was concerned for her welfare and that of her children.
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said: “He admitted sitting in his van while having a view of the victim’s home.
“He also admitted to following her on a number of occasions when she had been driving and in the vicinity of the school where she drops off and picks up her children.”
In a statement read out in court, the victim said: “I was greatly concerned for the safety of myself and the children. I am single and live alone with them and do not have the security of another adult living with me.
“I feel all churned up that he has come back to haunt me. I tried to put him to the back of my mind. I feel scared and frightened that he knows where I live and that he has been watching me. I am very unsettled and always on my guard to the extent that I don’t even put my rubbish out in the dark.
“I am very angry that he has made me feel like this.”
Laura Croft, defending, said: “There has been no suggestion that my client has attempted to approach this woman or that he has threatened her in any way.
“Because of his previous relationship with her, he believed she was under the influence of alcohol. He was acting out of a genuine concern for her and her children.”
The case was adjourned until Thursday, August 28, for the preparation of pre-sentence reports.