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A 30-YEAR-OLD woman was forced into hiding by a man who claimed she was his long-lost daughter, a court heard.

Soon after a chance meeting on a bus, Nigel Perren followed the woman and began harassing her for the next three weeks This included sending rambling letters to her at her home as well as presents including a painting, Southampton magistrates heard.

The court was told how Perren, 41, was mentally ill, although no pre-sentence psychiatric report had been prepared as he did not cooperate.

However, since being on remand he was taking his medication to stabilise his moods.

District judge Anthony Callaway said: “This was a very serious matter because it resulted in the complainant having to leave home with her daughter to get away.

“Saying it was your daughter was thoroughly offensive to her and caused her considerable distress.

“People are entitled to live without harassment, although I believe that you are suffering from individual mental health problems.”

Judge Callaway jailed Perren for three months, but stepped back from imposing a restraining order because that might lead to Perren finding out where the woman lived.

Perren, 41, of Heath Gardens, Netley, pleaded guilty to harassing the woman during April of this year.

Defending himself after sacking his solicitor, Perren said he had nothing to say, although he later added: “I think prison is not going to help very much”.