Page last updated at 17:08 GMT, Friday, 29 January 2010

Man 'sent explicit letters to 400 women across the UK'

The accused has been banned from using photocopying facilities

A man facing harassment charges sent explicit letters to 400 women across the UK, after buying their details from a mailing company, a court has heard.

It was claimed that Joseph McEvoy, who is originally from the USA but lives in Rath Cuain, Warrenpoint, asked a shop worker in the County Down town for sex.

It was also alleged that he travelled to the home of a pharmacist who helped at a mental health centre after she rebuffed the 46-year-old's advances.

He was granted bail at the High Court.

During the hearing, prosecutors said one woman was left fearing she was being stalked by Mr McEvoy.

The court was told that the harassment charge stemmed from the accused's attempt to strike up a relationship with the pharmacist following sessions at the mental health drop-in centre.

'Understandably terrified'

The woman's mother then received a phone call from him about her daughter, and during the conversation he admitting being at the pharmacist's home that day.

A card and CD had also been left at the local chemists.

After Mr McEvoy was arrested and cautioned, the court heard that another letter was then sent to the pharmacist asking why she had got the police involved.

Granting bail, the judge ordered the accused to surrender his passport and banned him from making any contact with those complaining about him.

He was also prohibited from entering either Richhill, County Armagh, or Bangor, County Down where one of the alleged victim lives and works.

He was also banned from using photocopying facilities, after the court was told that he used a public library photocopier to reproduce the literature he sent in the post.

The judge said: "The people he is (allegedly) making contact with don't know what they are dealing with. They would be understandably terrified if they were contacted by this individual."

'Pending charges'

A prosecution barrister said Mr McEvoy had appeared to have "involved himself in behaviour of what might be described as a disturbing, pestering nature".

He explained that summonses have been issued on further pending charges linked to the alleged distribution of sexually explicit letters, one of which was sent to a 17-year-old girl.

The prosecution said that during a police interview, Mr McEvoy stated that he had sent the letters, including his photograph, "to 400 females across the UK whom he had no prior knowledge of".

A defence lawyer claimed that the pharmacist had never stated that she made clear to McEvoy he should not contact her.

The lawyer also pointed out that his client had already been in custody for close to the maximum period he could be sentenced to if convicted.

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