A war hero stalked his former partner because his post-traumatic stress disorder.

Stephen Rouell, 56, bombarded Audrey Payne with unwanted texts.

Kirklees magistrates heard that his ‘horrific experiences’ at war had affected him deeply. He served in the Falklands War and saved the lives of his comrades when their ship Sir Galahad was bombed, killing 48 men

Rouell had pleaded guilty to stalking his former partner Audrey Payne, of Lower Cumberworth, at an earlier hearing.

Over 10 months he harassed her, sending text messages describing where she was and what she was doing.

Alex Bozman, proscuting, said: “These gave her the impression that she was being watched by Mr Rouell. Some of them suggested he knew her whereabouts, for example when she was going to Manchester Airport.”

The court heard that the couple’s on-off relationship had ended in 2013.

Rouell had a previous conviction for harassment and burglary which related to Ms Payne.

She said that he continued to contact her despite her wanting no further contact with him.

Ms Payne also feared that her ex had watched her at her home.

Mr Bozman said: “She lives out in the country, is isolated and has concerns that Mr Rouell may observe her from a distance.

“She feels extremely vulnerable and wants an order that will protect her from Mr Rouell and further stalking behaviour.”

Rouell, who now lives with his wife in Branstone Grove in Ossett, said he contacted his ex after chance encounters with her in places like the gym.

His solicitor Stephen Swan said that his client suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

He explained that Rouell was on the Sir Galahad with other members of his regiment on June 9, 1982.

They were in Port Pleasant near Fitzroy when their ship was bombed and set on fire, killing 48 men.

HMS Sir Galahad ship lost during the Falklands War
HMS Sir Galahad ship lost during the Falklands War
 

The few survivors included Simon Weston, who became renowned for his charity work after suffering severe burn injuries.

Rouell rescued several of his comrades before going back on board the burning ship to try and save his commanding officer who had died.

Mr Swan said: “His post-traumatic stress didn’t come out until years after the event. He clung to what was around him and inevitably the relationship he was in at the time took on a different meaning. It was out of proportion in importance.”

The court heard that Rouell is now receiving help from the charity Combat Stress.

Magistrates issued him with an indefinite restraining order, banning him from contacting Ms Payne or going to her home.

He must also comply with a 12-week curfew and pay £85 costs and £20 victim surcharge.