A  79-year-old Suffolk man who became obsessed with a former barmaid at his local pub repeatedly breached a restraining order banning him from contacting her or her family, it has been alleged.

Alexander Apthorpe sent the woman, who is in her 30s and now lives in London, letters and cards addressed to her at her family home near Southwold, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Nicholas Bleaney, prosecuting, said that Apthorpe, who lives in Walberswick and is also known as George, met the woman while she was working as a barmaid at a local pub and became "obsessed" with her.

As long ago as August 2011 he was made the subject of a restraining order banning him from contacting the woman and her family and this order was updated in August 2021 after he breached the order on several occasions.

Mr Bleaney said  Apthorpe had allegedly sent the woman a Christmas card and had then sent her letters in which he said he loved her and looked forward to seeing her soon.

He also allegedly sent her letters saying: "I'm desperate. All my love, George" and "I can't think of anything to say. Keep smiling".

Apthorpe, of The Green, Walberswick, has pleaded not guilty to breaching a restraining order made in August 2021 on ten occasions between December 23 2021 and June 6 last year.

The offences include sending a Christmas card and letters to a woman he is banned from contacting.

Apthorpe has also denied an offence of stalking the woman's stepmother.

The alleged victim's stepmother told the court that in addition to sending letters addressed to her stepdaughter, Apthorpe had also turned up at the family home near Southwold making her anxious about going out of her front door.

Giving evidence Apthorpe, who is currently in The Priory, in Essex, said he was in love with the alleged victim but accepted he hadn't seen her for about 15 years and hadn't had any direct contact with her in that time.

He said he believed she communicated with him by leaving pieces of plastic, screws or nails in his garden at night.

The trial continues.