A STALKER launched a six-month campaign of abuse, bombarding his victim with hundreds of messages and threats, after their short-lived virtual love affair came to an end.

Gareth Clatworthy, of Nursery End, Stanford in the Vale, appeared at Oxford Magistrates' Court yesterday having already admitted one count of stalking and another of sending threatening communications conveying a threatening message.

The 39-year old repeatedly stalked and harassed his victim, who he had never met in person and only knew online, and made numerous threats that he would kill her new boyfriend.

In one message read to the court Clatworthy said 'I am going to burn his body, I am going to beat him to death with my fists.'

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Outlining the case yesterday prosecutor Clare Barclay said that Clatworthy - who is married with children - first met his eventual victim while using social media platform Instagram in August last year.

Naked photos were exchanged during the early stages of their virtual relationship but this soon came to an end after the woman said she felt 'overwhelmed' by the contact.

Despite the woman's effort in trying to cease contact with Clatworthy he went on to create numerous fake social media accounts in order to stay in touch.

Between October last year and April he embarked on a campaign of harassment whereby he continued to stalk her and bombard her with hundreds of messages, some conveying threats to her and her new boyfriend.

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In one message he told the woman 'I am going to ruin your job and tell all your colleagues what you are really like'.

In another he said 'my life is completely meaningless but I will take you with me'.

He also sent her a picture of the front of her home, despite her never telling him where she lived.

During his campaign of abuse Clatworthy made a total of 100 separate Facebook accounts in order to surreptitiously stay in touch with her.

He also sent a total of 548 messages to her.

An unsent e-mail was later discovered on his phone which was poised to be sent to her work place alleging inappropriate conduct.

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In a victim personal statement the woman said that as a result of her ordeal she now had trouble sleeping and it had affected her confidence.

In mitigation Clatworthy's defence barrister David Hicks said that his client had never met his victim in person and the abuse had all taken place online.

He said: "She wanted to stop the contact, it's clear at that time Clatworthy was not willing to allow that to stop.

"It appears to be the resentment and the jealousy from behind a computer screen that has sent these messages."

The court also heard that Clatworthy had no previous convictions.

In deciding sentencing presiding magistrate Jonathan Grosvenor said that the lower court 'did not have the necessary power' in sentencing and so the case had to be sent to the crown court for determination.

Clatworthy will again appear for his final sentencing hearing at Oxford Crown Court on June 4.

He was remanded in custody in the meantime.