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Friday, 7 September, 2001, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
Jailed stalker learns fate
Maidstone Crown Court
Hurdle was sentenced to life at Maidstone Crown Court
A former naval officer known as Britain's most notorious stalker and jailed for life will serve at least seven years before being considered for parole.

Anthony Hurdle, 41, was sentenced in July this year for attempting to murder Lorraine Nicholson after she ended their relationship.

At Maidstone Crown Court on Friday, Judge Andrew Patience QC said Hurdle would have to serve half of his life term, which is effectively 15 years, and that six months had been taken off for time on remand.

Hurdle appeared for a five-minute hearing at the court in Kent dressed in prison clothes.

'Danger to women'

Passing sentence on Hurdle on 4 July, Judge Patience said: "You are a danger to women and because of that I will leave it to the home secretary as to when, if ever, it's safe to release you."

Hurdle, formerly known as Anthony Burstow, forced his way into Miss Nicholson's home in Ashford, Kent, on 24 November last year and slashed her wrist with such force that her hand was left hanging off.

Hurdle has a history of stalking and was jailed for three years in 1996 in a test case for causing grievous bodily harm to the mind, of former friend Tracey Sant.

Hurdle
Hurdle has a stalking history
In the first case of its kind, the House of Lords and the High Court found that the conviction for the offence, GBH to the mind, was safe.

Miss Nicholson ended their several-month long relationship after she saw the documentary featuring Hurdle.

Shortly after that, a catalogue of stalking incidents began.

On 19 November last year, five days before the attack, one of Miss Nicholson's friends received a text message from Hurdle.

Severed veins

In it he said: "Please tell Lorraine her game is over. No call today. I take over the process."

Five days later, Miss Nicholson spotted Hurdle near her home in Ashford as he drove past and looked through the window.

She heard the doorbell and looked through the spy-hole.

Hurdle had crouched below it and as the door opened, he forced his way into her home, pushing her into the kitchen.

Brandished knife

He cut her left arm, severing all veins and arteries before using the knife to cut his own wrist.

The court heard that when the attack was being carried out, Miss Nicholson's son Bobby tried to get into the house but he was confronted by Hurdle brandishing a craft knife.

Police later said that if Bobby, 18, had not turned up for lunch, his mother would probably have died.

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