A BESOTTED Yorkshire pensioner who refused to take no for an answer after proposing to the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire has been given a restraining order.
After a chance encounter with the Dowager Duchess, Michael Andrews proposed marriage and bombarded her with phone calls.
The 75-year-old, of Stockton-on-the-Forest, near York, met 90-year-old widow Deborah Cavendish while walking in Edensor - a village near her home, Chatsworth in Derbyshire, on November 10 last year.
The pair chatted and subsequent communications between them led Andrews to pop the question - but his feelings were not returned by the Duchess, who is the only surviving member of the Mitford sisters - the darlings of Thirties and Forties society.
Stung by her rejection, Andrews visited her and made repeated phone calls forcing the Duchess - who once took tea with Adolf Hitler - to contact police.
Chesterfield Magistrates' Court heard how Andrews had been told on several occasions by both the Duchess and her staff that she did not want any further contact but he refused to take no for an answer.
Defending, Colin Byrne said: "My client was sincere in his affections but unfortunately they were not reciprocated."
Andrews originally faced a charge of harassment, which he denied, but at court the prosecution offered no evidence on this count.
imposed an indefinite restraining order, preventing Andrews from contacting the object of his affections again.
He told him: "In particular you must not go onto the Chatsworth Estate and not make any phone calls or send any text messages or send anyone else to see her."
The measure was suggested as a resolution under new legal powers following discussion with both legal teams.
Prosecuting solicitor Bill Taylor called the Duchess's secretary during a break in proceedings and said: "She says it would be a splendid way of dealing with the matter quickly and efficiently without wasting court time."
Andrews was said to be "happy" with the result.
Afterwards, he said: "The case is all over, it's concluded now and I have no further comment to make".