A STALKER who waged a six-year harassment campaign on a supermarket checkout girl has appeared in court for breaching a restraining order.

Julian Lambe, the son of the so-called M5 rapist John Lambe, became infatuated with the woman after a brief exchange with her at the till of a Morrison's supermarket.

He took their brief conversation as a sign of flirtation and bombarded her with Facebook messages.

Lambe, 46 and from Ringwood, was handed an indefinite restraining order when he was sentenced for stalking in August 2018.

But in November last year he attempted to tag himself in one of her pictures on Facebook.

Lambe, whose father was jailed for life in 1981 for raping 12 women in areas around the M5 motorway, claimed he thought his restraining order had ended.

The self-employed carpenter claimed he had no idea how he accidentally tagged himself in her picture and had since deleted his Facebook account.

Emily Lanham, prosecuting, said: "[The victim] received a notification from Facebook that a 'Jay Light' had tried to tag himself in a picture on her profile. She recognised from the profile picture it was Julian Lambe.

"He changed his name to stop people searching for him and for business purposes.

"When asked by police he said he thought it (the restraining order) was in place for 12 months, but eventually accepted that was not the case.

"It's the prosecution's case he knew the details of the order.

"It should be noted he often changed his name online when he was contacting her. She did say she was worried this was the start of that repeating itself."

Lambe had previously bombarded the woman with messages telling her she was gorgeous and that she had stolen his heart.

He also told her his own wife could not compare with her and left a Valentine's card on her car windscreen.

Although she told him to stop contacting her he made 20 attempts to befriend her on Facebook and Instagram up until 2018.

At the time he was issued with the restraining order which banned him from contacting her or following, tracking or monitoring any online activity involving her.

Tim Akers, defending, said Lambe's mother-in-law had asked him to drive her to the Morrison's store to do her Christmas shopping in November 2019.

Mr Akers said: "He was under the impression the order had finished. He decided to check Facebook to see if [the woman] still worked in Morrison's to avoid her, he didn't want any trouble.

"If she was still there he wouldn't have attended but he saw she no longer worked at the store so he decided to attend.

"He has no idea how he managed to tag himself in one of her photos. He doesn't have any Facebook friends, he doesn't really use the platform at all and has since shut down his Facebook account, taking the view it's not worth the risk of him having one.

"He has had to rebuild his life. He wants nothing more to do with the complainant. There was no conversation, no threats made.

"He has been taking anti-depressants for a long period of time, he had a traumatic childhood - being the son of the offender who was dubbed the M5 rapist and was jailed for life in '81 when he was eight years old.

"Partly as a result of that, the defendant changed his name to his wife's parents family name to avoid association with his father and to distance himself from the negative publicity regarding his last appearance."

Lambe pleaded guilty to breaching the order and was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 60 hours of unpaid work and a £90 victim surcharge.

Sentencing him for the breach Recorder Nicholas Haggan said: "She has indicated she is scared that contact was the start of more.

"I am satisfied that you were looking at her profile online.

"I accept that you had, up to that point, complied with the terms of the order and you have made significant efforts to comply with all of the requirements imposed upon you."