A SOUTH CERNEY man broke a court restraining order by inviting the mother of his child to become a Facebook friend, a judge heard.

Craig Francis, aged 30, of Boxbush Road, was subject to a restraining order made four years ago banning him from contacting his former partner.

But in November last year he made a request to her via Facebook to become his friend, Gloucester crown court heard last Thursday.

The woman immediately reported the message to the police and in court Francis admitted sending her the invitation between November 5-9 last year, in breach of his restraining order.

Until today Francis had denied the offence and was to have stood jury trial but he changed his plea to guilty at the last moment.

Prosecutor Susan Cavender said that for two and a half years after the order was made in September 2006 Francis had made no contact with her whatever.

"Then out of the blue he sent her he sent her a 'be my friend' request via Facebook," Ms Cavender said.

"She reported it straightaway. She is on friendly terms with him because she is the mother of his child and she has exchanged photographs with him but she did not want to have him back in her life."

Judge William Hart sentenced Francis to a 12 months conditional discharge and ordered that the restraining order continues.

David Martin, defending, told the judge that Francis had a new relationship and did not wish to rekindle anything with his former partner.