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Father stalks solicitor after talk on train during Brighton to London commute
A father stalked a solicitor who he became obsessed with after they discussed spanking on their morning commute.
Nicholas Hines, 50, met solicitor Rebecca North on the train from Brighton to London.
Ms North, who was on maternity leave, was researching spanking for an “upmarket” article she was writing on “corporal punishment”.
Hines “proved helpful” on this subject and the pair developed a friendship, Theresa Mulrooney, prosecuting, said.
He later started stalking her, Brighton Magistrates’ Court was told on Tuesday, February 19.
The court heard that in the next weeks Hines bombarded Ms North with emails and text messages.
He phoned her and after seeing her from behind in the street – and “recognising her bottom” – got a hammer and started smashing a phone box in front of shocked passers-by.
This offence took place in London, where she worked.
Miss Mulrooney said: “She was completing an article on spanking for an upmarket publication.
“They met and he [Hines] proved helpful.
“They met a couple of times a year outside of a work situation.”
But after a period Ms North decided to “distance herself” from Hines.
Miss Mulrooney said she ignored his many phone calls and emails and hid when he visited her home in Brighton.
On August 13, 2012, she contacted him and asked him to leave her alone.
But on September 2 he sent her a message which read: “You broke my heart.”
He also made bizarre allegations that she was a porn star, her daughter was at risk and her husband might be shot, Miss Mulrooney said.
Alison Reeby, defending, said until very recently Hines had an unblemished record.
He was very successful in IT, in a long-term relationship and had a 21-year-old daughter, she added.
But she said work – and the amount of foreign travel he had to do – contributed to him having a breakdown.
She said: “At times it was as though he was living in a false reality.
“He was sectioned.”
Hines, previously of Brighton but now of Sutherland Street, London, admitted harassment and criminal damage.
He was released on bail on condition he does not contact Ms North or visit her home in Brighton.
He is due to be sentenced on March 13.
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