A UK interior designer was stalked by an obsessed admirer who compared their relationship to the epic ancient Greek poem The Odyssey.

Penelope Hulme, 53, was bombarded with more than 700 explicit texts from painter and decorator Ian Stewart who used her first name to proclaim himself as her self-styled "saviour".

The infatuated 48-year-old, who had previously worked for his victim's millionaire ex-husband, equated Hulme to Penelope the loyal wife of the legendary King of Ithaca whose exploits were told by Homer.

And although Hulme was dating another man, Stewart from Sale, Greater Manchester, sent her a series of messages over a three-year period demanding she leave him so they could start an affair together.

Advertisement

One text read: "I am your saviour and I can take you to another world. Everything about you is beautiful. I love you."

Others said: "I just sent our pics to an American medium. She says something going, you feel disconnected. It's me Odysseus, I will call soon. I am Odysseus."

Hulme, who lives in Hale, near Altrincham, urged Stewart to stop contacting her but he persisted with his texts and was reported to the police.

Law graduate Hulme, a mother of two who specialises in upmarket interior home design for wealthy clients said: "I feel this man is a threat and I am worried about what he might do next.

"He seems deranged and delusional and says he wants to take me to another world. I feel disgusted, insulted and humiliated by these messages. I feel the messages undermine my well-being and my dignity.

"I have gone from being confident to be scared about leaving the house and my work is now also being affected. I cannot concentrate and my imagination runs wild.

"Dealing with this man is a waste of my time and I am focusing on writing this and not doing my work. I could lose my job. I am very worried that I could be the next rape victim."

Manchester Magistrates' Court heard Hulme had known Stewart since 2007 after he did some decorating work for her then husband Martin, 60, who was chairman of a large property development company.

Prosecuting Andrea Griffiths said: "It was a professional relationship. She works as an interior designer and work was passed between her and the defendant. But she then divorced her husband and the pair lost contact.

"Later in 2012, the complainant bumped into the defendant in the street and she was in a bad way due to her divorce. He offered to help her fix some issues in her home telling her he didn't want to be paid.

"She repaid him by referring him to some of her clients and giving him business. But from then he started contacting her in quite a strange way.

"During that time period from 2013 she found him quite difficult and intrusive and she asked him to stop contacting her.

"However, he continued to contact her referring to himself as the Greek god, Odysseus who saved and married Penelope. Penelope's partner at the time contacted him and told him not to speak to her again.

"But he then started to contact her again via text message. She felt shocked that he had continued to contact her and blocked him.

"Over the next few days she received messages from another number. The messages were intense and frequent. She said she found the messages so sickening that she decided to phone the police.

"She said his contact was unhealthy, unnatural and very much unwanted. There were over 700 messages sent to her phone - none of which she replied to.

"On the 10th of October last year, the defendant sent a number of messages. Some are sexual and some are religious.

"He talks particularly about being her saviour and taking her to another world."

At 11:15 that night he sent a message saying: "I love you and I want to suck your p---y all night."

Another message said: "You make me horny. Everything about you is beautiful. Don't let that dog f--- you, I will. I love you."

The prosecutor said: "Stalking can take many forms - in this case the contact is via text messaging. What affect that had on her was to alter her lifestyle."

Stewart admitted stalking Hulme between October and November last year under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

Defending himself, he said: "She agreed to meet me for a coffee. I do not know what all that was about. I used to work for her and she has gone on like I have stalked her but I was just messaging her.

"I am so in disagreement with what she says, I have never hurt anyone in my life."

During the hearing, a probation officer said: "He is not very accepting of the offence this has had on the victim. He does not seem to have any understanding of the alarm and distress this has caused the lady.

"They have known one another for a few years and there seems to be an obsession that stopped a few years ago and then started again in October. He was telling me that she started it. He has said that he won't make contact again.

"He has no relevant previous convictions and is self-employed and works as a painter and decorator. He if fit and well and has no history and it's mental health services."

Stewart was ordered to complete a 12-month community order and fined £300 (NZ$523) with further orders to pay a £85 (NZ$148) victim surcharge and £150 (NZ$261) in costs.

He was banned from contacting Mrs Hulme indefinitely under the terms of a restraining order.

This article was originally published by The Telegraph.