A WOMAN who bombarded her neighbour with a barrage of messages, letters and gifts over a ten-month period has been jailed.

Sarah Stables, of Hest View Road in Ulverston, made her victim’s life a ‘misery’ and made her feel as if she was ‘a prisoner in her own home’, between June 2022 and March 2023, Preston Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Paul Cummings said that Stables admitted to officers in police interview that she was ‘obsessed’ and in fact ‘in love’ with her neighbour.

Mr Cummings told the court Stables moved to her property in 2018, but only first started stalking the woman in June 2022 when she asked the complainant if her daughter could come over and see her dog.

On one occasion in July, he said the defendant, aged 40, sent a message to her neighbour saying ‘we would be lost without you’ before leaving a card and a gift labelled ‘best neighbour ever’ on her doorstep.

Mr Cummings said the complainant became concerned with the amount of messages and began to ignore Stables unwanted WhatsApp messages.

The court heard the complainant sent a message to Stables saying she did not 'hate' her but explained that her life was busy and that the texts were ‘a bit much’.

The court was told the complainant first reported matters to the police in August when the complainant replied to a text from her saying she was busy by saying: ‘I wish I was dead now. I know that you hate me’.

Mr Cummings told the court the complainant blocked Stables and changed her number, but said the stalking continued via the use of other mobile phones and Facebook over the forthcoming months.

He said Stables started messaging the complainant’s mother and sister on Facebook and said that she was spotted looking through the window of her neighbour’s house on another occasion.

He said Stables started messaging the complainant’s mother and sister on Facebook and that she was spotted looking through the window of her neighbour’s house on another occasion.

Parts of the complainant’s victim impact statement were then read into the court record.

The complainant told police: “I have become a prisoner in my own home. I dread coming home from work. I resent my home because I cannot get away from her.

“I feel like I am living in hell. It is a nightmare. I do not feel safe in my own home. I have my doors locked at all times because I am scared that she will get in.

“When I step out of my house, I feel like I am being watched.

“I feel like she has taken advantage of my caring and friendly nature.”

The court was told Stables had been convicted of a similar offence in 2019 with a different victim, being handed an eight-week suspended prison sentence.

In mitigation, David Trainor urged the judge to step back from imposing an immediate custodial sentence.

He pleaded: “If you locked her up, there is likely going to be a deterioration in her mental health and she will no longer be able to access the support she is receiving in the community.

"If you give her one more chance, she knows it will be the last chance.

“Her daughter has learning difficulties and has split care between her and her former partner. The child struggles with change and managing her own emotions but is doing the best that she can.

“She is still living in the house next door to the complainant, but the house was sold two months ago and within the next month should be fully completed.

“In my respectful opinion, there is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation. She can lead a lawful life if things are under control.”

However, His Honour Judge Darren Preston found that there could be no alternative other than a prison sentence.

Sentencing Stables to 12-months behind bars, he said: “You made her life a misery. You claimed you were in love with her which only makes matters worse.

“A person’s home is somewhere where they should feel safe and secure. You took that away from her. The impact of the stress and anxiety you caused her can only be guessed and never understood.

“I accept your bipolar and borderline personality disorder leads to you having difficulties in society, relationships and issues with your self-esteem, but you demonstrated delusional thinking and beliefs and excessive compulsion in the way you behaved.”