Huddersfield-born ITN newsreader, Nina Hossain, was left fearing for her safety after being followed into a restaurant by a stalker who spent the 15 minutes staring at her.

Ms Hossain, an anchor for ITV Lunchtime, was allegedly stalked for 18 months between February 2014 and November 2015 where she was followed to pubs, on trains and met outside the news studios.

Highbury Magistrates’ Court heard 42-year-old Peter Birt on one occasion followed mother-of-three Ms Hossain into a restaurant and “stared at her for 15 minutes.”

Birt has appeared in court for a brief hearing where an impact statement from Ms Hossain, who was worked for ITN since 2005, was read out.

Ms Hossain still has family in Huddersfield and is the presenter of the Examiner Community Awards. Last year she received an honorary degree from the University of Huddersfield.

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While Birt denies one count of stalking between 9th February 2014 and 17th November 2015, special measures were granted for Ms Hossain to testify from behind screens when the matter comes to trial.

Wearing a trenchcoat and grey tie, chubby, brown-haired Birt spoke only to confirm his name and indentity and plead not guilty to the offence.

The court heard Birt left Ms Hossain in constant fear, along with her family, after waiting for her outside places such as ITN’s headquarters on Grays Inn Road.

Huddersfield-born journalist Nina Hossain

Making an application for Ms Hossain to be allowed to testify from behind a screen when the case comes to trail in April prosecutor Nathan Miebai said the quality of her evidence would “diminish” if she came face to face with Birt.

“The complainant has stated that the incident has caused her anxiety and worry and left her in fear of the defendant,” said Mr Miebai.

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“She states that this fear has not disappeared over the years. She also says that the feeling of anxiety in this particular case has affected her private life.

“This includes her children, mother and husband who feel helpless in respect of helping her.”

District Judge Gillian Allison granted the application, saying she was satisfied the quality of Ms Hossain’s evidence would be affected. Robert Kaim, for Birt, said his client will argue he had a right to be in the areas where he is accused of stalking Ms Hossain, or that he was simply not present.

Birt, of Ashburnham Road, Luton, was bailed on the condition he does not contact Ms Hossain.