Family stalked for 17 years

Burnley Magistrates Court.
Burnley Magistrates Court.
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A Burnley man who harassed a mother and her two daughters for 17 years must undergo a psychiatric report before he is sentenced at court.

Graeme Hannigan (43) of Brownhill Avenue, Burnley, pleaded guilty on August 13th at Burnley Magistrates’ Court to stalking Anne Brierley and Lisa Wilkinson by “persistently monitoring their internet usage, publishing statements regarding their moment via the internet, and watching or spying on their activities.”

Magistrates heard how in 1996 Hannigan had “become obsessed” with Anne Brierley’s daughter Carrie-Ann Birbeck, who now lives in Australia, when she worked at a cinema in Brierfield.

Hannigan had sent her sexually explicit and threatening letters for which he was convicted at Burnley Crown Court.

But when she emigrated to Australia in 2011 he infiltrated her Facebook profile and attempted to “add” her sister Lisa Wilkinson as a friend.

Miss Alex Mann (prosecuting) said: “The defendant is a complete stranger to this family.

“Anne Brierley has said that he actively stalked her and her daughters and was frightened of him.

“She is disturbed by the lengths he may go to and terrified where it might end up.”

The court heard how Hannigan “had acquired a vast amount of detail” on Mrs Birbeck’s life in Australia and had even contacted her workplace to say she was an illegal immigrant.

Miss Mann added: “Lisa Wilkinson found his Facebook profile extremely disturbing and discovered four posts about her family on there.”

Mr Daniel Fraser (defending) said: “My client suffers from Aarskog-Scott syndrome, which may affect his cognitive thinking.

However, he is not actively going out and following this family around.”

Magistrates adjourned sentencing for a psychiatric report to be prepared.

Hannigan was released on conditional bail to return to court on October 29th.