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Former Tory candidate admits to a campaign of abuse against Lib Dems

A former Tory prospective parliamentary candidate has admitted carrying out a campaign of harassment against his Liberal Democrat rivals.

Ian Oakley pleaded guilty to five charges of criminal damage and two counts of harassment at St Albans magistrates' court. Oakley, 31, of West Drayton, north-west London, also asked for 68 other offences to be taken into account.

The court heard that Oakley, who was prospective parliamentary candidate for Watford, embarked on a hate campaign against his Liberal Democrat rivals, Sal Brinton and Russell Willson. He sent gay and lesbian magazines to Ms Brinton at her home and work addresses and made silent phone calls to her between August 2006 and March this year, the court heard.

Oakley also daubed graffiti across Liberal Democrat headquarters in Watford and slashed tyres on councillors' cars.

His campaign against Mr Willson from February to May this year included daubing graffiti on his home, saying "scum scum perv". He also sent letters to him and his supporters wrongly claiming that Mr Willson was a "child abuser".

Oakley resigned as prospective parliamentary candidate on 20 July, after his arrest. The seat is currently held by Labour.

The chair of magistrates, Barry Northrop, adjourned sentencing until 16 September to allow reports to be prepared. He warned Oakley that prison was an option.

The Liberal Democrats have written to the Conservative leader, David Cameron, asking him to look into the "vile campaign".