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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Woman banned from cinema after bombarding worker with texts and letters

A ‘film buff’ has been banned from a cinema after bombarding a woman worker with flowers, letters, poems and texts.

Laura Forrester – who was convicted of harassment after a trial – claimed the incidents were mostly “accidental” but has been banned from going within 50 metres of Rachel Whitehead’s home and from contacting her.

Magistrates in Workington heard how Miss Whitehead knew 23-year-old Forrester as a regular cinema-goer at the Plaza, in Workington, where she worked.

Prosecutor John Moran said Forrester put a note, with her home number, through Miss Whitehead’s door at home.

“Miss Whitehead was not interested in the defendant but she wanted to pursue a relationship,” he said. “She sent text messages that were not welcome. One text indicated she may have been watching Miss Whitehead’s address as she knew she’d had someone round.”

On another occasion, Miss Whitehead had seen the defendant near her house as if she was watching it. She was also staring when Miss Whitehead was working at a burger van and she came to her house saying they “needed to talk”. There were further letters and texts until Miss Whitehead went to the police.

Mr Moran said she heard nothing more from Forrester, of Pasture Road, Rowrah, until six months later in March 2012 when a bunch of flowers were delivered, with a phone number.

“Miss Whitehead was feeling very harassed by the defendant’s actions which were causing upset and alarm,” he added.

Forrester was still in denial, he said, suggesting that a lot of the incidents were accidental and did not accept her actions had an effect on Miss Whitehead.

Defence solicitor Neil Pilling said his client “accepts some of the allegations but not all of them”.

“She accepts she sent the initial note and text messages and going to Miss Whitehead’s place of work but there was nothing sinister; she is a film buff and it is the only cinema,” he said.

“She does accept sending flowers. She bought them for a young man who rejected them and, not knowing what to do with them, just for a joke she put them on the steps of this woman. She was hurt that the woman was upset by the receipt of these flowers. She denies the burger van incident – she was waiting for a friend.”

Forrester had denied harassment without violence between May 2011 and March 2012 but was convicted during a trial on July 30.

She was given a 12 month community order, which includes the 12 month cinema ban and a four month 7pm to 7am curfew.

The restraining order, under which Forrester must not contact or approach Miss Whitehead in any way, or go within 50 metres of her home, will stay in place indefinitely. Forrester must also pay £450 court costs.

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