Obsessed man thought barmaid was in love with him

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A 76-year-old man who repeatedly breached a court order banning him from contacting a barmaid after he became obsessed with her has a rare disorder which makes him think she is in love with him, a court has heard.

Sentencing Alexander Apthorpe at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday (August 2) for four breaches of a restraining order, Judge Emma Peters said in addition to suffering from paranoid schizophrenia he suffered from erotomania.

“This is a condition which leads to the delusional belief that this  woman is interested in you. She isn’t and she wants you to stay away from her,” said the judge.

She said Apthorpe was obsessed with the woman and she had now moved away from the area.

Apthorpe, of The Green, Walberswick, admitted four breaches of a restraining order.

He was given a 12-month community order and a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

He was also banned from contacting the victim of the offences or going to her family home in north Suffolk.

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Judge Peters warned Apthorpe that if he continued to breach the restraining order the consequences would be more serious.

Apthorpe, who chose not to be legally represented, told the judge: “I don’t see what the problem is. We are lovers.

“It’s not for you to decide. I thought marriages were made in heaven.”

Nicola May, prosecuting, told the court that a restraining order was made in 2011 and Apthorpe had been fined after breaching it in 2012 and 2018.

She said the latest breaches occurred in April and May this year and involved Apthorpe turning up at the victim’s family home and writing a letter to her father saying it would be nice if his daughter could cook a meal for him.

He had also sent a letter addressed to the victim and telephoned her family home while the police were there taking statements about the earlier incidents.

An earlier hearing heard that Apthorpe had become “besotted” with the woman when she was working as a barmaid and had sent her cards and invitations to dinner after discovering where she lived.

Apthorpe had been taking a monthly injection which kept him 'mentally stable' but he’d stopped taking it in 2018.

However, he'd recently restarted the medication.

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