A married businessman who lavished gifts on his lover after a brief affair in 2009 has been cleared of stalking her for more than seven years.
Former accountant and haulage contractor Patrick Bradley, 72, renovated three homes and bought diamond jewellery and several cars for the 56-year-old woman.
Bradley admitted falling in love with the hospital worker and spending tens of thousands of pounds on her.
He told Perth Sheriff Court he was a wealthy and generous man who had once written a single cheque for his sister for £375,000.
The woman – who had known Bradley as a family friend since 1993 – said she was ashamed of her affair and had tried without success to break off contact.
Depute fiscal Michael Sweeney said: “There’s no doubt he has given this lady an insurmountable amount of assistance.
“However, because he has helped her it doesn’t give him carte blanche to act as if he owns her.
“She described herself as being petrified. The pressure mounts up and the sinister element develops.”
During two days of evidence, the woman said Bradley had paid her mortgage for a period, given members of her family jobs and bought her expensive jewellery and three cars.
She said: “He wouldn’t take any payment for any of them. There’s offering support, and then there’s taking over.”
She said Bradley spent £2,000 on her for her 50th birthday.
Bradley said the extensive renovations added up to more than £50,000 plus VAT.
When she told him in 2017 that she was in a new relationship, Bradley tried to investigate the man’s financial status.
Asked if he was in love with the woman, he replied: “I would say I was at one point but that was years ago.
“I’m fairly well off and I had a friend who had next to nothing. I carried out renovations. I thought I would always be welcome in her house.
“She had no baggage, she had a nice home, and there are people out there who prey on women like that.
“She pushed me away just as I finished the renovations. I feel – rightly or wrongly – I was taken advantage of.”
Bradley, of Aberfeldy, was found not guilty after a three-day trial of stalking between December 13 2010 and May 11 2018.
He denied phoning and emailing her, leaving unwanted messages at her home, contacting her family and friends and demanding they make her contact him, and threatening to expose their affair.
Sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown ruled Bradley had persisted in carrying out the behaviour that he had been accused of.
However, she said that while he had caused “discomfort” to the woman, she did not think he had satisfied the test of causing her “fear or alarm”.
The sheriff said: “She felt uncomfortable with the friendship but allowed it to persist because she feared he would tell her family she had slept with him.
“I have no doubt it made her feel uncomfortable.
“In December 2017 she intimated that she did not want any contact. I do not accept she felt scared of Mr Bradley.
“He was candid that he continued to contact her when she tried to break things off. He wanted to resume the relationship using generosity.”
She warned Bradley any future contact with the woman should only be made through solicitors.