A woman who became infatuated with a WPC escaped jail after breaking a restraining order granted to protect her.
Natalie Erin Daly, 31, was said to have developed an unhealthy interest in WPC Emma Fenton after the constable had cause to speak to her five years ago in the course of her duties.
She tells me that she is perfectly fine now, but I am not sure about thatBob Toppin, defending
But Wigan and Leigh magistrates heard that things again came to a head recently when Daly, who lives alone in Rugby Road, Leigh, contacted the officer’s mother, Rosemary Fenton, via Facebook.
She asked her to send some pictures so that Daly could put them on her own Facebook account to “show her off.”
In a statement to the court, WPC Fenton said she was concerned that Daly had “blatantly disregarded” an earlier restraining order: “Miss Daly lives at the back of Leigh Police Station where I am based and I am unsure what she is capable of.”
Magistrates gave Daly a year long community order sentence with a 30-day rehabilitation requirement and an eight-week curfew between 8pm and 7am.
A restraining order warning her not to contact WPC Fenton or members of her family was extended until February 2018.
The chairman of the bench told Daly, who had admitted harassment of WPC Fenton in breaching the original restraining order: “You know that this is only going to go one way if you breach this order again and that is you will go to prison.”
She must also pay £85 towards the costs of prosecution and £85 victim surcharge and an order will be made to take it from her benefits.
Bob Toppin, defending Daly, said that there were a series of underlying mental health issues but unless she was prepared to engage with the professionals, the courts were just “papering over the cracks.”
He pointed out that in one “rather bizarre conversation” with the probation department, Daly had denied all knowledge of the existence of the restraining order.
Mr Toppin said: “She tells me that she is perfectly fine now, but I am not sure about that.
“Miss Daly hasn’t given me a rational explaination about asking Rosemary Fenton for photos of her daughter but one thing I can tell the court is that there has never been any threat of violence. By contacting Emma Fenton’s mother she was making third hand contact. It was more of a nuisance than a threat.
“She now knows the consequences of none compliance with any new order could well be custody.”
Prosecutor Steve Woodman had earlier explained that WPC Fenton had cause to speak to Daly in the course of an investigation in 2011.
When arrested for the latest breach of the restraining order Daly argued that she hadn’t contacted Mrs Fenton at all and that somebody must have gained illegal access to her smartphone, but she then admitted it had in fact been her.