Former policeman cleared of stalking married Sunderland woman - but ordered to stay away from her
An ex detective been cleared of stalking a married woman - but been ordered by a judge to keep away from her.
Former Durham Police officer Michael Trodden was accused of spying on Lesley Green, from Sunderland, turning up at her home address, her place of work and her parents house in an attempt to talk to her.
Mr Trodden told jurors his relationship with Mrs Green, who worked as a nurse for Cancer Research UK, was sexual, that he thought their feelings for each other were "mutual" and that he believed she would leave her husband.
After a week-long trial at Newcastle Crown Court, jurors found the former officer unanimously not guilty of stalking.
The 53-year-old, of Ventnor Road, Middlesbrough was visibly relieved and held his head in his hands when the jury foreman delivered the decision.
Despite the not guilty verdict, prosecutors applied for a restraining order to keep Mr Trodden away from Mrs Green and her family in future.
Judge Penny Moreland made the order, which has five strict conditions and will apply for five years.
The judge ordered that Mr Trodden must not contact Mrs Green or her family and must not post anything about them on social media.
The terms of the order are that Trodden must not:
*Contact Mrs Green, directly or indirectly, by any means whatsoever.
*Contact any member of her family, directly or indirectly, by any means whatsoever.
*Enter specified addresses in Sunderland where the families live.
*Contact Cancer Research UK
*Post or upload to Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram or any other social media platform any comment about or reference to Mrs Green or any member of her family.
After the hearing, the former officer, who was supported throughout the trial by worried friends and family, said: "I am more than happy to accept the restraining order."
The court heard during the trial there was 1,985 contacts between Mr Trodden and Mrs Green between, via text, Whatsapp, email, Facebook and Twitter between October 2016 and November 2017.
Jurors heard 1,300 of the messages were sent from the officer to the married mum and the rest were sent the other way.
Mr Trodden told the court Mrs Green "always" got in touch with him.
He told jurors Mrs Green would regularly attend his home, where they would have sex, and that she bought him gifts including cufflinks, a silk tie and a leather wallet for birthdays.
He told jurors he was "flattered" that Mrs Green chose to be with him and that one day during their relationship he had "10 missed calls in one day off her".
Prosecutor Jonathan Devlin said Trodden was "obsessed" but the former officer said: "Not at all, she was coming back as much as I was.
"It was mutual. I can prove it."
During re-examination by his own barrister Roderick Hunt, Mr Trodden added: "When things were good they were great between us both.
"I wanted to know where I stood. I wanted a relationship with her and I believed it was mutual."
Mr Trodden told jurors he believed Mrs Green would leave her husband and added: "She told me she was."
He told the court he eventually decided himself that the relationship with Mrs Green was over and that he started seeing other people.
Mrs Green told the court how she had a five-week relationship with Trodden in 2012 after meeting him while working on a roadshow which had travelled to Middlesbrough.
She said she was experiencing problems in her marriage at the time.