A 22-year-old man sent his former girlfriend threatening and obscene text messages on her mobile phone because he couldn't come to terms with their break-up, a court heard.

Paul Howlett, of Buckingham Road, Bicester, sent the messages to Samantha Cox and her mother, Susan, in breach of a restraining order against him, Bicester Magistrates' Court heard.

Howlett admitted sending the messages, claiming that he wanted to hurt Miss Cox because he felt she had lied to him. He was sentenced to an 18-month community rehabilitation order.

Rosemary Fernandez, prosecuting, said Miss Cox met Howlett in May 1998 and she ended their relationship about a year later. After the split Miss Cox was subjected to phone calls from Howlett that caused her extreme stress, leading to the imposition of a restraining order in October 2000.

The text messages started appearing in December, although Miss Cox had changed her mobile phone number.

They included obscene sexual material and threats to kill Miss Cox. Another message read: "I love you, we should be together, but the trust has gone."

Miss Cox also received phone calls from telephone boxes near where she lived and she became convinced that Howlett was waiting for an opportunity to get her.

She spent an increasing amount of her time at her new boyfriend's house to protect her parents from stress.

Susan Cox said she was worried about the effect the harassment was having on her daughter's health as a recovering anorexic.

Howlett was arrested by police on March 23 and, when interviewed, he said he sent the messages because Miss Cox had hurt him by lying and he wanted to hurt her back - though not physically.

Martin James, defending, said Howlett now had a new girlfriend and wanted to put the past behind him.