1. ITV Report

McElderry 'stalker' is convicted

Ennis McBride, 53, from Stockport, was found guilty at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court Photo: Tom White/PA Wire

A man accused of stalking X Factor winner Joe McElderry and his mother was convicted of harassment today.

Ennis McBride, 53, from Stockport, was found guilty at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court after McElderry and members of his family gave evidence during the trial.

District Judge Roger Elsey said of McBride: "He has given evidence but has not been a compelling witness and lacked credibility.

"He totally lacked insight into the impact of his actions on the complainants."

The judge fined him £1,000 and ordered him to pay £915 costs.

McBride was subject to a five-year restraining order preventing him from contacting the singer or his mother.

McBride, a part-time PhD student with a degree in psychology and philosophy and another in counter fraud and criminal justice - who works in Holland, must not approach within 100m of his victims or communicate with them.

Joe McElderry Credit: Thames/Psyco

McBride became a fan of McElderry when he appeared on X Factor, winning the 2009 series. But later he became abusive on Twitter, posting offensive comments relating to McElderry's sexuality.

He became obsessed with a gift of 50 opera CDs he asked to be passed on to McElderry after a show in Brighton - becoming concerned that they had never arrived, then convincing himself that he was being lied to by the singer's management.

McBride turned up at McElderry's South Shields home when he was in the bath, but was turned away by the singer's best friend on September 11 last year.

The stalker then turned up at McElderry's former home where his mother Eileen Joyce was in the process of moving out.

She had seen a series of offensive, homophobic tweets about her son and became convinced McBride was responsible. She contacted her son immediately.

McElderry told the court: "I was feeling quite shaken and confused, and a bit creeped out.

"My mum sounded very alarmed and distressed and told me to lock the doors."

On Christmas Eve, she saw McBride in Asda and later that day he was arrested outside their home.

McElderry said: "My mum rang and said the stalker is back and he's in Asda.

"She sounded really upset but she was more concerned where I was and if I was with anyone.

"After that I went and locked the door.

"We spent the evening writing out our statement when suddenly a police van pulled up and he was put into the van.

"I felt intimidated that someone would be standing in the dark outside my house and scared because it was Christmas Eve and it was the last thing I wanted to think about.

"I understand that I'm on the public platform and I appreciate the support I get, but I don't think I should be made to feel unsafe in my own home."

In November last year McBride appeared at one of McElderry's concerts and sat on the front row.

McElderry said: "At the end of the show I always go along the front row and meet the fans, but as I approached the man I leaned forward, but he did not stand up like the rest of the audience.

"I had not felt threatened in that way until he came."

Ms Joyce said she felt anxious and bewildered when McBride appeared on her doorstep the first time.

She said: "He said Joe was a liar and he had his best friend lying for him.

"I felt really anxious and I asked him to move off the doorstep. I felt nervous and bewildered."

The court heard McBride set up a Twitter account called @mcelderrytruth.

Jeanette Smith, prosecuting, said that through that account a number of derogatory tweets were sent to McElderry.

She said: "He continued tweeting Joe and called him a hypocrite, evil and a liar."

McBride, who funded his defence case himself, explained the gift of the CDs.

"It was rather presumptuous. I thought they would benefit his singing as a pop singer if he became acquainted with opera," he said.

"His voice is one that could take on that challenge."

Asked if he intended to cause harassment, he replied: "No, absolutely not. I wouldn't have done that. It would have been counterproductive. I was trying to find out about the CDs.

"I was apologetic about going round there on a Sunday morning."

When he was arrested close to McElderry's home on Christmas Eve, police found a black ski mask in his bed and breakfast.

He told the court he going to the German Alps for a holiday after visiting Holland and needed it in case it snowed.

He picked the bed and breakfast as it was close to McElderry's home, he said. "I was hoping, although I had no intention to go round, I might bump into him."

The judge told him: "It is clear you did cause substantial distress to Eileen Joyce and you caused distress to Joe McElderry and you persisted in that over a period of time."

McBride said as he left court that he intended to appeal.

In a statement after the case, McElderry said: "I am happy this is all over and I just want to draw a line under it."

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