TV comedian Rory McGrath has pleaded guilty to harassing a married woman who accused him of stalking her for 14 months.

The star escaped jail after being given a 10-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.

McGrath, 60, who became a household name after appearing on TV programmes such as BBC panel show They Think It's All Over and comedy documentary Three Men in a Boat, had denied a charge of stalking at an earlier hearing.

He admitted the lesser offence of harassment on the first day of his trial at Huntingdon Magistrates' Court in Cambridgeshire on Thursday (26 January).

The court heard how McGrath, of Cambridge, harassed his victim between June 2015 and August 2016, sending her electronic messages, approaching her in the street and following her. He was also said to have sent letters to the victim's husband and called him at work.

Anthony Abell, prosecuting, said McGrath had known the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, since the 1990s.

The prosecution described McGrath's actions as "striking and distasteful" at a previous hearing, with the victim having to see a psychiatrist and go on medication because of the stress she suffered.

McGrath said in a statement read out by his lawyer outside the court: "This has been a dark time and thankfully it's now over.

"I wish to thank the judge and apologise to my wife and family and thank them for their incredible support during this time. I now want to move on with my life."

On top of his suspended sentence, McGrath was also handed a five-year restraining order and ordered to pay £200 in costs.

The comedian's conviction comes after he was cautioned by police over an assault in 2013 when a group of people tried to help him when he was drunk.

One of his victims, a man in his 40s, suffered a bloody nose and facial scratches.