A STALKER sent messages to his former partner which she believed were threats to throw petrol at her windows.

After receiving a series of calls and Facebook messages she was so concerned about his erratic behaviour that she went to the police.

Anthony Pickford admitted stalking and appeared at Minshull Street Crown Court for sentencing via a video link from Forest Bank Prison.

Adam White, prosecuting, told the court how Pickford, of Racecourse Walk, Radcliffe, and his former partner had been in an on/off relationship for nine years which ended in August 2018.

But Mr White said his strange behaviour dated back seven years.

“She made it clear to him, on several occasions, that she did not want to have any further contact with him,” said Mr White.

But Pickford repeatedly used different phone numbers to contact her and, at the beginning of August, began making silent phone calls from a withheld number.

The court heard that, in the early hours of August 2 Pickford sent her an “ambiguous” Facebook message stating she was “finished” and a garbled message.

“She understood that final message in particular to have been a threat to throw petrol at the windows,” said Mr White.

He then sent her a number of photographs taken in a garden, which his victim believes he wrongly thought was her property, along with the message, “I was there for you in case.”

In total 63 messages were sent over two days and 36-year-old Pickford was arrested.

The court heard that he has previous convictions for battery and trespass with intent to commit a sexual act.

Suzanne Hargreaves, defending, stressed that Pickford struggled with his mental health and was remorseful.

“There was no intention to cause fear, although he accepts and concedes that it would have done,” she said, adding that he is now responding to mdeication.

“He is in a much better place now,” she said.

Recorder Jonathan Gavaghan sentenced Pickford to a 12-month community order with 20 days of rehabilitation activities and made a restraining order banning him from contacting his victim or going to her home.