AN obsessed man who relentlessly stalked a petrified woman for two years before sharing a naked photograph of her has avoided prison.

John Walters appeared in Chester Crown Court on Friday to be sentenced for what the judge deemed 'despicable' behaviour.

The court heard how the 69-year-old repeatedly emailed, called and texted the victim, who lives in Warrington, in a bid to hear from her before releasing an intimate photograph of her which was taken more than 20 years ago.

Prosecutor Mandy Nepal said the victim met Walters in 1995 through mutual friends.

When she first came to the UK, Walters helped her find somewhere to stay, although their relationship was only ever platonic.

The victim started to notice a change in Walters' behaviour, describing it as overbearing.

Walters continued to contact the victim and when it became too much for her she sent him an email saying thank you for his help but it was best that their friendship ended.

He replied saying he felt the same way, but still continued to contact her.

Walters changed his email profile picture to one of her and would tell her about his life and call himself her 'loyal friend'.

In March 2018, the victim blocked Walters, from Hethersett near Norwich, from her mobile phone.

In November 2018, she swapped her mobile phone SIM card, not realising that Walters was now unblocked.

She saw two messages from him saying that he had been at her address which the court heard shocked and scared her.

The victim also received a text from her former boss who said that Walters had got in touch with him.

Walters had sent him a photograph of the victim naked from the waist up.

At first, she did not believe it was her, but after her boss sent her the photograph, she realised it had been taken at a party in 1995.

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She had been drunk and couldn't remember the photo being taken.

Walters also knew where she was now working and that she had learnt to drive, details she had not shared with him.

Michael Scholes, defending, said the photograph was not the most humiliating.

He stressed that Walters pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and lives a long distance from the victim.

He told the court that Walters was concerned that a custodial sentence would ruin his life and the threat of breaking a restraining order would be enough.

Judge Steven Everett, sentencing Walters in court said: "What has come across very clearly is that you have no insight at all to the harm you caused to that woman.

"Your selfish behaviour is astonishing – pretty despicable really.

"Your thought process is not as a normal, completely ordinary person would consider normal."

He accepted that Walters may have had a hard childhood but told him: "You are now 69 – you should be behaving like a normal adult and you have not."

Walters was handed a two year community order with a rehabilitation activity requirement and 150 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Everett explained: "You can put something back into the community- you are fit and well enough to do so."

Walters was also made subject to a restraining order prohibiting him from contacting the victim by any means and from entering Warrington.