A lovestruck UK man sent more than 700 mostly unpleasant text messages to a young woman he had befriended on Facebook when she tried to dump him.

Gavin Stevenson, 28, had initially got on well with Kirsty Jackson, of Carlisle, and had met her a few times. But she – wanting “only friendship and nothing else” – eventually told him to leave her alone when he made it clear he wanted more.

He was by then so obsessed with the 20-year-old he bombarded her with messages, followed her to the Job Centre and over just a few days phoned her 32 times on her mobile, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

When that didn’t work he sent her a birthday card smeared with excrement and started pestering her friend Kerry Rawson – and spraying insulting graffiti outside her house – in the hope that she would help him rekindle the relationship.

That left Ms Jackson no alternative but to call the police, the court heard, and he was arrested and charged with harassing both her and her friend.

Stevenson, who now lives in Dalbeattie Road in Dumfries, although he sometimes lived temporarily in Carlisle while working in city nightclubs last summer, admitted pursuing a course of harassment against both Ms Jackson and Ms Rawson.

The court heard Stevenson had previous convictions for sending offensive messages while living in Scotland.

In mitigation defence advocate Mark Shepherd said Stevenson admitted his behaviour had gone too far. But since he had spent 84 days in custody on remand, and the maximum sentence for such an offence was just six months – only half of which would be spent in prison – he would be released immediately.

The judge also made a restraining order which bans him from going anywhere near his victims or sending them messages for five years.

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