A lovelorn Welsh pensioner who broke the law by sending Christmas cards to his ex-girlfriend was told by a judge he has to “accept the romance is over”.

Great grandfather Donald Henry Hird, 82, sent parcels containing 30 old Christmas cards which he and travel agent Mavis Pike, 57, had received as a couple.

She also received other Christmas cards in which Hird wrote “love you always and forever”.

But doing so breached a restraining order his former lover obtained last September, saying he’d bombarded her with phone calls and letters after she broke off their relationship.

Sentencing the pensioner, of Cysgod y Bryn, Llanbedrog near Pwllheli, to a 12-month community order on Valentine’s Day, District Judge Andrew Shaw told him: “It’s particularly inappropriate timing perhaps to be dealing with the case. But you have to accept the romance is over and you are bound by the restraining order.”

Mel Hughes, prosecuting, said receiving the cards and messages upset Mrs Pike, who feared he would turn up at her home.

In a statement she told police: “He’s still controlling my life. I just want to be left alone.”

Hird admitted breaching the restraining order which banned contact with Mrs Pike and her daughter. He was also barred from where they live at Bury and Heywood, near Manchester.

Solicitor Tudur Owen, defending, said his loneliness was the nub of the matter. “He is isolated from people he knows and feels that loneliness desperately.”

Judge Shaw told Hird that six months ago he would have been regarded as someone of good character and entitled to the respect of the community.

“Now, unfortunately and sadly, you have appeared in court twice,” he said.

During the judge’s remarks Hird interrupted to ask: “Will I ever be able to see her?”

After the hearing Hird said he hadn’t sent any Valentine’s Day cards.

He said of Mrs Pike: “We had a very special relationship and I loved her so much. I miss her, she was so precious to me.”

Hird is a former publican who was married 36 years and served in the RAF.

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