File image. Picture: Marc Morris

A senior psychiatric nurse became obsessed with a woman colleague more than 30 years his junior and made her life hell in an 18-month stalking campaign.

Married father-of-two Tony Wood, 62, began taking an interest in Lindsay Youansamouth after they had worked together for a couple of years.

Wood had initially come across as a kind family man, but he began showering her with unwanted gifts, sending sexualised texts and coming in to see her at work on his days off.

At a hearing at Preston Magistrates' Court, the bench heard how he bombarded the 27-year-old PhD student with texts and emails. He also lay in wait in his car at her home and at the Guild Lodge psychiatric unit in Preston, Lancashire, where they both worked.

His texts contained messages such as ‘My mission in life is to get you to respond', ‘I won't give up', and ‘I love you and miss you'.

Wood, of Goosnargh, near Preston, became intimidating when she blocked his number. He told her she had a personality disorder and needed counselling.

In a victim impact statement Miss Youansamouth said: ‘When I first got to know Tony I thought he was generous and had my best interests in mind. Three years later, my thoughts could not have changed more drastically. All I wanted him to do was leave me alone.

‘Although his behaviour at work was concerning, coming to see me at home when he knew I was on my own was much, much worse. The likelihood was that he had followed me there.'

She eventually complained to Lancashire police and he was served with a harassment notice – but his behaviour continued.

Miss Youansamouth began struggling to sleep, and family members had to shadow her to work in case she was followed, the court heard.

It is understood Wood was not initially suspended by Lancashire Care Trust when the allegations came to light – he was moved to another hospital and continued to stalk her. He was later suspended.

Wood was handed a 76-day jail term suspended for 18 months, with a restraining order, curfew, rehabilitation and £500 compensation, after admitting harassment. His wife was with him in court.

The Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust insisted it set ‘high standards for all staff'.