A stalker fixated on a Borders hotel waitress less than half his age has been warned to stay away from her and keep out of the village she works in.
Martin Kane, 51, was gripped by what was described as an unhealthy interest in the 22-year-old woman and regularly visited her workplace, lavished unwanted gifts on her, made inappropriate comments and trawled through her family’s social media accounts to find out more about her.
Over the course of a year, he cycled the 30-mile journey from his home in Livingston, West Lothian, twice a week to her place of work, the Allan Ramsay Hotel in Carlops, Peeblesshire.
On one occasion, he sat in the hotel’s bar for nine hours, having only one drink in all that time.
Selkirk Sheriff Court was told the waitress started feeling uncomfortable in December 2017 when he told her Santa had a gift for her and handed over a bag containing 12 individually-wrapped presents to represent the 12 days of Christmas.
Depute fiscal Fiona Hamilton said: “She opened it in front of her brother, who also felt it was strange and uncomfortable.
“He would overhear her conversations with other people and mention things about herself which she had not told him.
“He went through her mother’s Instagram to get details about the family.
“He gave the waitress a present for her brother’s birthday even though he did not know him at all and had only found out about the birthday through social media.”
The fiscal said he would get jealous if she spoke to other customers, gave her drawings and gifts and kept making inappropriate comments that made her feel uneasy.
Ms Hamilton said the waitress told him to leave her alone, but he kept visiting and in December 2018 she went to the police saying she thought he was a “weirdo” and that she was afraid of him.
She also said she had suffered a panic attack and was getting distressed and would hide when he came into the hotel’s bar area.
Defence lawyer Ross Dow said Kane was a keen cyclist and would often visiting the hotel and got speaking to the waitress.
He said: “She was just being a pleasant waitress doing her job. He started visiting more regularly and formed an interest. It was an unhealthy interest but not obsessive.
“It should have been clear to him that she was not interested.
“The gifts that were handed out were in front of everyone.
“It was social ineptitude rather than anything more sinister.”
Kane, a restaurant kitchen worker, told police that he regretted being caught going through her mother’s Instagram account.
Police analysed his phone and found various searches relating to the waitress and her family.
Kane pleaded guilty to engaging in a course of conduct likely to cause the woman fear and alarm between December 1, 2017, and December 16, 2018.
Sheriff Peter Paterson deferred sentence for a year for Kane to be of good behaviour and continued a bail order preventing Kane from contacting her or her family or entering Carlops.
Mr Paterson told him that if he has been of good behaviour when the case recalls in September 2020 he will impose a fine and a non-harassment order, but if Kane makes any contact with her, he will look at the matter differently.
“I hope you realise now what you have done, and the harsh truth of the matter is that you have made a fool of yourself,” the sheriff told Kane.
“This was wholly unwarranted and uninvited attention.”