Comedian who hid in bushes to harass former lover avoids jail sentence
Comedian Rory McGrath harassed a married former lover for 14 months, hiding in bushes and threatening to share intimate photos of her.
The TV star was given a 10-week prison sentence suspended for 18 months after admitting harassment at Huntingdon Magistrates Court in Cambridgeshire.
'They Think It's All Over' star McGrath (60), whose wife Nicola was in court to support him, began harassing his victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, when she ended their affair.
McGrath originally denied stalking but admitted harassment when the charge was changed. He was given a five-year restraining order banning him from contacting his victim, her three children, her husband or her current partner, and ordered to pay £200 (€235) costs.
McGrath, of Grantchester Street, Cambridge, became "unstable and tempestuous" after his lover dumped him and asked him to delete "intimate photographs".
The prosecution said McGrath met the complainant in the 1990s and more recently through work as she was a writer and broadcaster.
He said their friendship developed into a physical relationship from November 2010 to May 2015. Both were married and kept the relationship secret.
She decided to end the affair as she began to find McGrath "difficult and unpleasant company".
McGrath found this "difficult to deal with".
"She made it clear their relationship was over. His reaction was to break down in tears and try to kiss her. He then spoke in a theatrical voice as if there was an audience and said, 'Okay ladies and gentlemen, we have closure'."
The harassment continued, with McGrath cycling up to the woman and her teenage daughter as they were jogging, causing her daughter to cry. He "smelt strongly of alcohol" on several occasions, hid in bushes, and messaged the woman's husband to say he had "mesmerisingly beautiful but quite graphic photographs" of her.
Angela Rafferty, mitigating, said McGrath had been in love and there was a "mid-life crisis element" to it."