A judge has ended an elderly man's obsessed letter writing campaign, ruling that eight of his letters to a 64-year-old woman breached a protection order issued against him in 2005.
The 84-year-old rest home resident was convicted of the eight breaches, as well as one charge of loitering near the woman's home - police spotted him checking her letterbox to see if she had been getting the letters after he found he was getting no replies.
Another charge of loitering, when he drove slowly by and looked up her driveway, was dismissed. Judge John Cadenhead also dismissed five more letter writing charges.
In June, the two met in the street where the woman had seemed friendly and had agreed that he and another friend could come for tea the next day, but the invitation was cancelled next morning.
The man started writing almost daily letters after that, and Judge Cadenhead effectively ruled that after about a week the man should have known the letters were not acceptable and should have stopped.
Neither the woman nor the police had told the man at that stage that he must stop the postal bombardment and the case ended up as a defended hearing in the Christchurch District Court today.
Judge Cadenhead said that in spite of earlier publicity he would impose suppression orders preventing publication of the name of the man and the woman he wrote to.
"I don't think further publicity in this matter assists these parties at all," he said at the end of the hearing.
The two were in a relationship for a time, and then the man lived with the woman as a boarder.
They had known each other for more than 20 years, but the woman tearfully told the court today that the man had been interfering and controlling and in the end she could not cope with him.
Judge Cadenhead said the letters showed an obsession with the complainant and were of a controlling nature.
The man said he wrote the letters because he cared for her and wanted to stay in touch. "I still care about her. It is spiritual love. Nothing to do with sex," he told the court.
The judge remanded him on bail to Friday for sentence after the nine convictions and told defence lawyer Brian Green: "Your client has to understand that this is the end of it."
"You have to leave this woman alone," he told the man. "You have got to get over this obsession and leave her alone."
"I have got the message," said the elderly man, whose case had been postponed so that it could be held in a courtroom where he could wear earphones that allowed him to hear the proceedings.
The judge asked for a pre-sentence report with a view to releasing him under supervision.