Western Downs man sentenced over stalking nurse

A WESTERN Downs man who hid in the bushes outside Toowoomba Hospital in an attempt to get close to a nurse has faced court for his obsessive stalking.

Neil Douglas Catton appeared in Dalby Magistrates Court on Tuesday charged with one count of stalking.

The court heard Catton first met the nurse when he became a patient at the Toowoomba Hospital.

From there his obsession with the nurse grew, police prosecutor Sergeant Derek Brady told the court Catton made confessions to the nurse's colleagues about having "romantic fantasies", and had several conversations with staff members about the nurse.

Catton also made several attempts to contact the woman at home and work as well as calling the hospital and asking receptionists to transfer him through to the nurse.

Sgt Brady said witnesses heard Catton muttering "I love her" over the phone and on another occasion was found to be hiding in the bushes of the hospital in an attempt to make contact with the nurse.

The victim told police officers Catton made her "anxious and fearful" and had resorted to being escorted around the hospital for protection.

Catton's defence lawyer told the court his client suffered from mental health issues.

Before handing down two years' probation to Catton, Magistrate Robbie Davies warned the man that repeated stalking behaviour can lead to serious jail time.
Catton was given two years of probation and a five year restraining order.

As a condition of his probation, Catton cannot contact the nurse. 

He is also required to register with a corrective services officer for regular check-ins, to undertake frequent psychiatric assessments and must not commit any more offence.