A TEACHING assistant who put up malicious posters in Royal Wootton Bassett calling her former partner a “cheat” has told of her devastation at being convicted of harassment.

Jacqueline McQuade made signs featuring a picture of Christopher Mock and bearing messages including “watch out there’s a rat about” and “peek a boo caught you”. Mr Mock’s life changed as a result of the posters and he began waking up in the night in panic and feeling he was being watched as he walked in the town.

He had been in a relationship with McQuade after they met at the school where they worked but they split up and he married another woman last September. McQuade was then contacted by various people who made unsubstantiated allegations about Mr Mock and informed her of the wedding, Swindon Magistrates’ Court heard on Wednesday.

McQuade held back tears on Thursday as she said: “Absolutely I regret what I did. Obviously I am not somebody who wants to break the law at all. “I would never, ever have thought I would get a criminal record at 54 years old. It seems out there, a bit crazy. I now realise sometimes in situations you don’t know what you’re doing or what to do.”

McQuade met Mr Mock, who was an English teacher, at Regent’s High School in Camden, North London, where she has worked for 21 years.

She pleaded guilty to harassment at Swindon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

McQuade’s friend Christine Lynch, 62, also admitted the charge. McQuade, who also works as an exam invigilator, and Lynch, a pensioner, drove from their homes in North London to display the signs, also bearing messages such as “liar” and “peek a boo I see you”. Mr Mock described in a victim statement read to the court by the prosecution how he had become nervous and reclusive after being portrayed as a “monster” in the posters. McQuade, from Camden, and Lynch, from Kentish Town, were previously of good character before putting up the posters between December 2013 and March. Magistrates gave the women 18-month conditional discharges, imposed restraining orders to protect Mr Mock and banned them from entering Royal Wootton Bassett. The secondary school said in a statement: “Regent High School does not comment publicly on matters relating to individual members of staff."”