A CONVICTED stalker jailed for threatening to torch an ex-partner's home with her children inside has continued to torment his victim from prison — after a sheriff failed to impose a non-harassment order on him.

James McEwan bombarded the woman with a series of menacing letters, declaring that he would carry out an 'ear-to-ear slashing' and telling her: "You'll see what happens to people close to you."

Port man McEwan, 32 — who has been barred from contacting two previous girlfriends — even sent the woman a photograph of an eye, which she took to mean that he was 'watching her', Greenock Sheriff Court was told.

He was sentenced to eight months imprisonment last October after telling his victim: "I'm going to burn your house down with you and your weans in it."

But a sheriff decided against imposing a non-harassment order at that time, which left the way open for McEwan to persistently call and write letters from jail.

The court heard that his latest relationship deteriorated after only a month when he began to exhibit 'controlling behaviour' towards the woman.

On one occasion McEwan made an alcohol-fuelled threat to knife her ex-partner.

He told her: "I'll end up going over there and stabbing him in front of your wean."

Prosecutor Pamela Brady told the court: "Later the accused entered the kitchen.

"The complainer believed that he took a large knife before leaving the flat."

The court was told that the woman discovered last September that she had fallen pregnant to McEwan.

Fiscal depute Mrs Brady said: "She believed that the relationship was not in a good place and she decided not to continue with the pregnancy.

"Later the complainer was in bed feeling ill.

"The accused stated, 'I hope you choke on your sick'."

The court heard that McEwan threatened to kill himself because the relationship was over and he sent photos of pills, a knife and cuts to his wrist.

After being jailed over the house fire threat, he told the woman in a voicemail: "Wait til you see what I do when I get out."

In a letter from behind bars he wrote: "Tell the person who took you for the abortion I'll slash them from ear to ear.

"I'm making no threats towards you but you'll see what happens to people close to you.

"If you go with anybody while I'm in here I'll find out and you'll be sorry."

McEwan then sent her two letters of apology, the court was told.

He pleaded guilty through lawyer Edel McGinty to engaging in a course of behaviour between April 1 2019 and February 6 this year which was abusive of his ex-partner.

McEwan was jailed in March 2018 after terrorising a previous ex-partner — even threatening to hack off her breasts with a sword if she met anyone else.

He also posted a series of 17 intimate pictures of the woman on three social media platforms and left her fearing for her life after she ended their 11-month relationship.

His course of intimidating conduct, which ran from May until August in 2017 was described in court as 'relentless'.

Solicitor Ms McGinty said: "He is someone who struggles with a decline in relationships."

The court heard that McEwan has been made subject to two separate non-harassment orders involving other women in 2015 and 2018.

Sheriff Joseph Hughes told McEwan: "This is a serious case, and it is all the more serious when one looks at your previous convictions."

The sheriff refused an application for bail, deferred sentence for a background report and continued consideration of a non-harassment order until July 1.