A High Wycombe woman who found a new admirer on social media after ditching her abusive husband was shocked to find later that the "new man in her life" was actually her ex posing as someone else.

Paul Thurlow, who was on Thursday starting a jail sentence, had been banned by a court from contacting Emma Thurlow but set up a Facebook account pretending to be someone called Daniel Clark and continued romancing her and sending messages.

A judge heard that for months she did not realise it was her estranged husband who was illegally making contact with her until eventually Thurlow was unmasked after again turning abusive.

The 57-year-old began his deception just days after a Family Court imposed a non-molestation order, banning him from contacting Mrs Thurlow, who claimed that the break-up was against a background of physical and emotional abuse.

She went through a five-month separation battle in court which began after the couple split in March 2019.

On July 19, 2019, just eight days after the non-molestation order was imposed, Emma received a friend request and, after the day after she accepted it, Thurlow, under his Daniel Clark guise, sent her messages.

Prosecuting, Christopher Pembridge said: "The breach of the order began when a friend request on Facebook was received by Emma Thurlow from a profile called Daniel Clark.

"This was a fake name and a fake profile. It transpired in due course it was in fact a profile being used by Paul Thurlow. Emma Thurlow did not, at that point know.

"The two individuals sent messages back and forth between July and September 2019 and this occurred quite ordinarily for some time.

"At one point towards the end, a rather unpleasant comment was received on a picture of the complainant and her daughter, stating that the two individuals in the photograph were two 'evil b***es'."

Mrs Thurlow had not shared any personal information with the fake profile during their conversations, the judge was told, but she started receiving messages about personal details in her life and the fact she had left her ex-husband.

Police arrested Thurlow after his wife's family became suspicious that he was the person behind the fake profile and, in police interviews, he had made a "full and frank" admission that he had set it up.

Detectives had asked the defendant whether he had any legal reason for breaching the court order against him and he had replied: "Yes, I think I have the right to contact her."

He added that until his ex-wife gave him back a car he would continue to contact her, leading to him being charged and admitting his offence.

The judge heard that it had also come to light that Thurlow had further breached the non-molestation order by sending a series of unanswered messages to Mrs Thurlow's old, unused Facebook account for a period of time after he was arrested.

The court heard he had written: "Did you ever love me or was it just a pretence? What did I do so wrong to make you hate me so much? You cannot even respond."

Thurlow, of Myrtle Close, Slough, who suffers from asthma, had been in custody since February 11 and had recently been given the all clear after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, but was due for some more tests, a lawyer defending him said.

Defending, Matthew Nash said: "The relationship dissolved very, very badly over a number of things.

"Unfortunately, while he was sitting there with a mobile phone and there was a couple of times he had had a few drinks, he was behaving in a particular way.

"It was out of frustration. He should have behaved a lot better than he did."

Mr Nash said father-of-one Thurlow now lived in Reading with a new partner, who supported him.

The court heard Thurlow had previously been jailed for an offence of breaching a non-molestation order against another woman in 2010, which the judge said was a seriously aggravating factor.

Judge Thomas Rochford, sentencing Thurlow at Aylesbury Crown Court, said: "You were formerly married to your victim in this case."

Thurlow replied: "I am still married, Your Honour."

Judge Rochford who continued without waiting, said: "A restraining order was set up against you. Within days you set up a Facebook profile, using a made-up name and communicated with her in a way that was frightening and unsettling for her.

"I do regard this as a very persistent breach. You persisted in communicating with her before and after your arrest and over a period of some months.

"You have a previous conviction for a matter of this kind. I bear in mind that that previous conviction was some 10 years ago. You did not on that occasion learn that these orders do apply to you. You must comply with court orders."

Thurlow was jailed for 14 months and made the subject to a restraining order which prevented him from contacting his ex-wife or attending any address where he knew or suspected her to be.