A Dunedin stalker went berserk in a pharmacy just weeks after her release from prison, a court has heard.

Karen Ilya Laing has been jailed several times in the past for criminal harassment, the main object of her obsessions being an Auckland man who she met in a Tinder hook-up gone wrong.

Most recently she was jailed for 10 months and released from Christchurch Women's Prison in July.

But it was not long before she was back in trouble.


Laing went to a pharmacy on George St on the morning of August 13 to return an item.

Defence counsel Rhona Daysh said her client's family had used that particular establishment for the last 30 years.

''Ms Laing thought that the staff member was being unkind and she wasn't wanted at the pharmacy,'' she said.

The defendant reacted by speaking loudly and wandering around the store knocking items of shelves.

When another staff member intervened, Laing said: ''I will kill anyone who calls police.''

She followed it up with further threats.

''I am a stalker and could murder someone, but I am not a dishonest person,'' Laing told staff.

When police arrived she put her outburst down to the employees who ''weren't nice people''.

Laing subsequently pleaded guilty to a charge of behaving threateningly, which carries a maximum penalty of three months' imprisonment.

Despite her previous incarcerations, Daysh argued she would be much better served by a rehabilitative sentence.

Laing had recently been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome and was working with an organisation to help her integration into society.

Judge John Macdonald said photos provided to him of the mess caused in the pharmacy told the story.

While the threats by Laing caused staff to fear for their safety, he said they were ''pragmatic'' about the scenario.

''The victim appreciates the defendant has some mental-health problems but she should not have to put up with that behaviour,'' the judge said.

He agreed.

While there was a recommendation from Probation Laing be sentenced to community work, Judge Macdonald rejected that.

''I think you have enough going in your life,'' he said.

He sentenced Laing to nine months' intensive supervision but acknowledged much of that sentence would overlap with the release conditions from her previous jail term which run until June 2019.

Laing was now trespassed from the Golden Centre mall.