A FORMER soldier who stalked his ex-girlfriend after they split up has walked free from court.

James Reid, 62, was left heartbroken after Ashley Davis, who is more than 30 years his junior, split up with him.

And, believing she had been living “a double life” while leaving him thousands of pounds in debt, he repeatedly turned up at her workplace without saying anything to her.

During their relationship, Reid showered Ms Davis with gifts, which she said was his way of exerting “a form of control” over her.

But she eventually broke off their relationship and “cut all ties” with Reid, leading him to believe she had been cheating on him with someone else.

Reid began hounding Ms Davis after a chance stop-off for food revealed where she was working.

He was on his way to a car show in Greenock when he stopped off for some food and discovered she was working at a Chinese takeaway in Bishopton.

He then began turning up at her work on a regular basis, but never approached her or spoke to her.

The details emerged earlier this year when Reid appeared in the dock at Paisley Sheriff Court over his antics following his split from Ms Davis.

He had been on trial over his antics but, after Ms Davis had given evidence, he pleaded guilty to a charge of engaging in a course of conduct which caused her fear and alarm by repeatedly attending her workplace.

Reid admitted carrying out the stalking campaign between August 8 and September 19, 2015, in breach of Section 39(1) of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010.

When he did so, he struck a deal with prosecutors which saw claims he also stared at Ms Davis on the various occasions he attended her work deleted from the charge.

Solicitor Advocate Chris McKenna said Reid was a smitten partner who did not have his troubles to seek and had been devastated when Ms Davis left him.

The defence lawyer added: “There was no reason she should be fearful of the accused – there was no history of domestic violence – but he has accepted her state of mind.

“On the occasions he attended at her work, he did not pluck up the courage to go and speak to her as he had initially intended to do.”

Mr McKenna continued: “His position is she never, at any point, signified she wasn’t happy in the relationship and wanted out of the relationship.

“After she left, there were large unpaid bills.

“He had given the bills to her father, so she was aware there was an issue that needed addressed.

“He was formerly in the Armed Forces and a charity which assists veterans paid the bill for him, to prevent him being taken to court.

“He later discovered she had a new partner and his information was there was an overlap, although that’s disputed by the complainer.

“He believed she’d been leading a double life.

“There is a substantial age gap between them and he felt humiliated and felt very foolish. One of the reasons he attended her work was because of the bills and also because he felt he deserved an explanation.”

Sentence had been deferred for six months for the accused to be of good behaviour.

And when Reid, of Stevenston, Ayrshire, returned to the dock yesterday to learn his fate, he was allowed to walk free.

Sheriff Tom McCartney told him: “You’ve been of good behaviour for the last six months and you have no previous convictions for any similar conduct.

“In all the circumstances, I’ll admonish you in respect of this matter.”