A man who harassed his widowed 67-year-old neighbour in South Shields has escaped a jail sentence after painting and scratching both racist and abusive taunts on her home.
Stephen Smith, 43, from South Shields was sentenced to a two-year community order with supervision and a five-year restraining order, which bans him from approaching his victim or her home.
Smith targeted Mrs Doreen Saleh over a period of almost two years between July 2009 and March 2011.
It is also thought that some of the abuse was related to the untimely death of Mrs Saleh’s 44-year-old son, Gary, who had suffered a heart attack.
Newcastle Crown Court heard Mrs Saleh was left living in constant fear, and was unaware her tormentor lived just four doors away.
It was only when police installed a covert recording device Smith was unmasked as the culprit.
Smith, of Mortimer Road, South Shields, admitted racially aggravated harassment.
Judge Brian Foster said Smith has previously suffered from mental illness and had paranoid ideas. Bob Spragg, defending, said Smith has abided by a curfew for the last 489 days and has never been in trouble before.
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