A HEREFORD man who stalked a woman has been warned he faces a prison sentence.

Gareth Herbert, 47, of Hazel Grove, Redhill, pleaded guilty at Gloucester crown court to stalking the woman between September 26, 2017 and April 22 of last year.

Herbert had denied a more serious charge of stalking with the fear of violence, and his jury trial was about to commence last week when the prosecution agreed to accept his guilty plea to a less serious variation of the offence.

It was after a jury had been sworn, but before any evidence was heard, that Mark Sharman, defending, said his client was prepared to plead guilty to simple stalking.

Prosecutor Simon Goodman told Judge Ian Lawrie QC that this was acceptable and a trial would not be necessary.

He said it was important that Herbert pleaded guilty to stalking and not just harassment.

“He is of some concern,” the barrister said, “and the police want him labelled properly.

Herbert stalked the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in various ways, the court heard.

The offending included pulling out in front of her car in his Renault Laguna, forcing her to brake to avoid a crash, then tailing her in the car.

He sent her intimidating What's App messages which referred to her as a 'shameful slut'.

There was also a Valentine's day card in which he promised her 'I will always find you.'

Herbert attended her place of work, stared at her, loitered outside and entered the premises again staring at her, as part of his stalking campaign.

Mr Goodman said: “There was serious and significant alterations to her lifestyle.”

The prosecutor said the starting point for sentence, before any discount for a guilty plea was 36 weeks jail, but that would be 'aggravated by his previous convictions'.

Judge Lawrie said: “This court takes a zero tolerance view on domestic offences either current or past partners.”

Mr Goodman said: “Both witnesses were willing and able to attend court. If they could not do so they would have preferred that.

The judge described Herbert's offending as: “Persistent terrifying behaviour.”

The case was adjourned for sentence and the judge ordered a pre-sentence report from probation.