ONE OF the 'Freshwater Five' jailed for 18 years in 2011 for smuggling cocaine worth £53m into the UK, but released on licence in 2020, has admitted stalking a woman for six weeks.

Daniel Payne was due to stand trial at the Isle of Wight Magistrates' Court on Thursday (June 13), after he denied stalking, without fear, alarm or distress, between September 1 and October 11 last year.

But last Friday (June 7), Payne changed his plea to guilty and appeared before magistrates this morning (Tuesday).

Payne, of Kings Road, East Cowes, admitted to harassing his ex-girlfriend, by sending her texts, messages on social media and unwanted gifts, meeting her and using others to try to contact her.

Police received a complaint on June 14 last year Payne had been harassing his victim, six weeks prior to her lodging it.

The victim said Payne, 49, had been sending her numerous unwanted messages on WhatsApp and Instagram, after she told him their relationship was over, said Liz Miller, prosecuting.

Other examples of his harassment included him pushing a bag of clothing to her through her car window, which he said "looks better on you than me".

He also asked her to "pop round for coffee" and see his house, and, after he had been night-time fishing, Payne turned up at her home.

The victim told him she did not want to see him again and he eventually left, but returned and left her flowers and a fish curry, the court was told.

Payne's harassment also included his attempts to contact her via friends and her sister.

The woman told the police Payne made her frightened because of his past.

Payne had spent nine years in jail for drug smuggling, in a case which made national media headlines.

Along with four others co-convicted, Payne was said to have collected the drugs from the English Channel in a fishing boat, in 2010. 

An appeal against Payne's sentence failed in 2021.

For Payne, Oscar Vincent said his client had been 'naive' about relationships, due to being jailed so long.

"The ending of the relationship hit him hard. He only wanted answers on why they split up," said Mr Vincent.

Magistrates ordered a report on Payne and bailed him to reappear for sentencing on July 26.