| -0.7°C Dublin

United star Rio tells of fears for his family as stalker goes on the run

A woman who repeatedly turned up at the home of Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand was on the run today after being convicted of harassment.

Stalker Susanne Ibru (38) twice disturbed the Premier League player and his wife while they were asleep, claiming she needed to speak to him.

Ibru was before a court in Manchester yesterday where she questioned Ferdinand in the witness box, telling him as he left the court: "I'll see you soon, bye."

She then abruptly left court after being told Ferdinand's wife Rebecca (30) was excused from giving evidence after giving birth to their third child, a girl.

A warrant was then issued by the judge, 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.

"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," he said.

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

The 32-year-old 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.

On the first occasion, Ibru disturbed the couple, who were asleep, by pressing the intercom buzzer at the gates to their driveway in the early hours of the morning.

Ferdinand called his club's security, who alerted police, and Ibru left after being warned against harassment.

The second time, he was returning home at around 8pm when he saw her standing on the road opposite his house.

Police attended again and once more she was warned that she would face prosecution, but she turned up again two days later in the early hours of June 18.

Ibru again woke the couple using the intercom buzzer and she was arrested.

"The safety of my family is as huge to me as it is to anyone," the footballer said.

"Then you have people at your door talking about things that don't make sense. You want to be left alone with your family."