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Rio Ferdinand stalker found guilty

A woman who repeatedly turned up at the home of Premier League footballer Rio Ferdinand was convicted today of harassment.

Stalker Susanne Ibru, 38, twice disturbed the Manchester United player and his wife while they were asleep, claiming she needed to speak to him.

She was convicted at Macclesfield Magistrates' Court in her absence.

Ibru, who conducted her own defence, left court after being told Ferdinand's wife Rebecca, 30, was excused from giving evidence after giving birth to their third child, a girl, at the weekend.

Earlier, Ibru had questioned England star Ferdinand in the witness box, telling him as he left the court: "I'll see you soon, bye."

A warrant was issued for Ibru by District Judge Nicholas Sanders, who asked for her to be brought back before him for sentencing.

He said it was "quite clear" to him that the prosecution case against her was proved.

He said: "Mr Ferdinand is a high-profile footballer and whilst there will always be occasions where he is exposed to public and press scrutiny, the fact is that when he is in the privacy of his own home with his family he has a right to expect to be left alone."

Ibru, who was living in Peckham, south London, made the 400-mile round trip to Ferdinand's home in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, on February 21 last year, then again on June 16 and 18.

The 32-year-old Manchester United and England star told the court he was upset by the visits from the woman, whom he had never met.

"At first I was angry and upset but then disturbed, really, because I have got a young family and this was not the time or the place to be coming to speak to me," the player said.

Ibru told the judge she wanted to question Mrs Ferdinand and, when she was told she could not, she walked out of court and failed to return.

The case continued in her absence with evidence from Detective Inspector Kevin Chambers, who spoke to Ibru outside the Ferdinands' home following the February incident.

He told the court she claimed she knew the footballer "from Peckham, south London" and she knew his mother "from church".

He also found a return train ticket from London in her pocket. The officer said he warned her against causing harassment.

Ibru never denied visiting the Ferdinand home but argued her actions did not amount to harassment.

But, giving his verdict, Judge Sanders said: "It is without question that it did amount to harassment of Mr and Mrs Ferdinand.

"Miss Ibru, I suspect, will say she didn't know but she certainly should have done."