Page last updated at 18:09 GMT, Friday, 28 March 2008

Man cleared of harassing actress

Samantha Morton
Samantha Morton starred in Steven Spielberg's Minority Report

A man has been cleared of harassing Oscar-nominated actress Samantha Morton, but given a restraining order to stop him from contacting her.

However Noel Watts, 42, of Gabor Close, Clifton, Nottingham, was convicted of harassing Morton's agent Nicola Van Gelden via texts and phone calls.

He was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison for this offence but will not serve as he has already spent 62 days on remand.

Nottingham-born Ms Morton, 30, has twice been given Oscar nominations.

'Very frightened'

Watts escaped the harassment charge involving the actress as only one text was forwarded to her when her agent decided not to alert her.

He had denied two charges at City of Westminster Magistrates Court.

During the trial Ms Morton told the court she met Watts when she was 13, and that he first wrote to her in 2004. She said the letter had made her feel "very frightened".

She added that she had installed security cameras at her home.

Noel Watts said in court he had no case to answer.

He told the court: "Yes I did text and call but what's the crime in texting and calling?

"It's got to the stage where I even had to look up the word harassment in a dictionary to find out where (my accusers) are coming from."

Samantha Morton first caught the public attention playing a teenage prostitute in the TV series Band of Gold.

She then went on to receive Oscar nominations for best supporting actress for Sweet and Lowdown and for best leading actress in In America.

Ms Morton also won a Saturn Award for her performance in Steven Spielberg's Minority Report.

After the trial, the actress and Ms Van Gelden, who did not attend court on Friday, said they had no comment to make.


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