Woman accused of stalking TV actor

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The Independent Online

A 66-year-old woman stalked a television actor over five years and poured petrol through the letterbox of his lover, a court heard today.

Sandra Price, of Hingham, Norfolk, described herself as a "crackpot" in one of the letters she sent to Martin Shaw, who is best known for his roles in The Professionals and as Judge John Deed.

Shaw, 63, told King's Lynn Magistrates Court that Price had written to him following the break-up of his marriage.

He said the letters initially appeared to be "chatty" fan mail but later developed a more sinister edge.

"She was becoming more and more assuming of an intimacy and a knowledge of my private life that both didn't exist and I found unwelcome," said the actor.

"Clearly, it was not only inaccurate but extremely offensive and intrusive."

Shaw, who lives in Hingham, said Price also delivered a 45-minute cassette tape to his house.

"It was quite hard listening," he said. "She said her life was a living hell. She said it was because of me."

He continued: "I can't characterise it in any other way than by saying it was spooky. She sounded unhinged."

The court heard Price, who had been seen hiding in a ditch and also regularly sat in her car parked close to Shaw's home, would walk past the actor's house up to four times a day and left a file detailing his career on his doorstep.

In one letter, Price offered Shaw "healing" and signed it from "Sandra the Crackpot".

Price denies harassing Shaw been January 2003 and July 2008.

But she admitted criminal damage after pouring petrol through the letterbox of Shaw's partner, Karen da Silva, in July 2008.

Shaw said he became more "frustrated" at Price's constant presence.

"I felt that this woman was unbalanced," he said.

Price moved to Hingham from her home in Settle, North Yorkshire during the period of her alleged harassment of Shaw, the court heard.

Shaw said he referred to Price as his "stalker" before he knew her name.

He said police issued her with an harassment warning in November 2005.

Price was arrested in July 2008 after damaging the home of Ms da Silva, who lived about a quarter of a mile away from Shaw.

When asked how she felt after discovering the petrol in her hallway, she said: "Odd really. It was unexpected and not normal.

"It took a lot of getting my head round."

The court heard Ms da Silva was targeted by Price after she began seeing Shaw following the end of his marriage.

The trial continues tomorrow.