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Bruce 'distress' over harassment

A mentally ill viewer who harassed BBC newsreader Fiona Bruce by sending flowers and cards signed "your kingfisher and loving husband" has been detained in hospital under mental health legislation.

Australian-born Peter Oakey, 51, of Brentwood, Essex, sent more than 20 cards to the BBC, referring to the 46-year-old television presenter as "my beautiful firebird" and writing "I love you Fiona", Basildon Crown Court was told.

The presenter made a statement saying Oakey's behaviour left her "upset, disturbed and distressed", the court heard.

Prosecutors said Oakey admitted breaching a restraining order imposed after he admitted harassment.

Judge John Lodge made a hospital order after being told how psychiatrists had concluded that Oakey had a mental illness known as "persistent delusional disorder".

The judge said he was satisfied Oakey was suffering from a mental disorder and satisfied that the nature and degree of the illness made compulsory hospital treatment appropriate.

Doctors felt that Oakey had "delusions of passion" and believed Miss Bruce loved him and he loved her, the judge was told.

Maria Dineen, for Oakey, told the court that the label stalker was "rather inappropriate".

She said Oakey had never expressed any desire to harm Miss Bruce, never attempted to meet her, asked to meet her or followed her.

Prosecutors said Oakey had a history of "conduct of a similar nature", dating back to 2002. He had previously appeared in court after writing "offensive" messages to a number of shops - including Boots and Sainsbury's - a church, a hospital and a doctor's surgery, the judge was told.


From Belfast Telegraph