A MARRIED man accused of stalking a workmate was treated as a ‘joke’ by colleagues despite being on the ‘verge of a nervous breakdown’, a court has heard.

UPDATE - Jury delivers verdict for man accused of stalking OUP co-worker

Joseph Garratt, of King Walk, Didcot, denies one charge of stalking involving 'causing serious alarm or distress' due to his actions towards the woman, who worked at Oxford University Press, between May and October 2017.

At the close of the 28-year-old’s trial at Oxford Crown Court yesterday defence and prosecution summed up the evidence they had presented to the jury.

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Adrian Amer, for the defence, said Garratt’s coping method for his autism, which was exacerbated by the ‘noisy and busy’ work environment, of frequently looping the Jericho building had initially caused ‘a bit of excitement’ and 'drama' in the office, and that he may have seemed ‘silly, weird and bizarre’.

He added: “That is all very nice, let’s have a giggle. He was on the verge of having a nervous breakdown. How fair is that on him?”

“He was a joke to them and they let it continue until it had got worse and worse.”

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Garratt cried in the dock as Mr Amer said the woman had ‘got caught up’ in his obsessive behaviour but that it was focused not on a person but on objects.

He said Garratt ‘did not know’ the woman and at no point did anyone say who she was, adding: “Why did nobody have the courage or the guts to say ‘this is the woman here, keep away from her’?”

Earlier in the trial, prosecutor Julian Lynch told the court the woman, who had initially worked in a different department to Garratt until he was placed on medical suspension in June 2017 and the alleged stalking had spilled out to her home and walk home, had been left with nightmares and feeling anxious due to the five-month ordeal.

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She told the court that Garratt had first noticed her while in a common area where he approached her while she was with a friend.

She said: “There was nobody else there and he came and sat very close to us. He sat on some corner sofa by us, but a little bit too close for comfort.He was strangely staring at us. It was a little bit intimidating.”

The jury of seven men and five women was sent out to deliberate yesterday at 2.10pm.