A WOMAN who told another woman to hang herself in a series of 'grossly offensive' messages has been made the subject of a restraining order.

A court heard Diane Dutton sent a series of offensive and threatening messages via social media site Instagram over the course of more than three months.

South Cumbria Magistrates' Court was told both women had sent abusive messages to each other in a long-running feud.

The messages sent by Dutton, 49, included threats, incitements to harm herself and abusive name-calling, Judge John Temperley was told.

In one message, Dutton told the victim: "You're going to wish you never started any of this ... you won't have a house in the morning."

Dutton also suggested to the victim she should 'hang yourself'.

Describing the effect of Dutton's action, the victim said in a statement read in court: "What she has been doing to me is making me feel sick to my stomach.

"It's put a huge strain on my marriage.

"I was between jobs when all this started but the impact on my mental health has prevented me from going back to work, there's simply no way I can consider getting a job."

She said she was often scared to leave the house for fear of encountering Dutton.

In mitigation, Michael Graham said abusive messages had come from 'both directions' and both sides had 'been in the wrong' during the long-running spat between the pair. 

The victim was convicted of damaging Dutton's car last year.

Sentencing Dutton, of Barrow's Manchester Street, Judge Temperley told the defendant: "The messages you sent were threatening and they were grossly offensive and I have no doubt they would've caused significant harm.

He added: "I hope you both see this as an end to the matter because, particularly at your age, you shouldn't be getting involved in behaviour of this sort - this has to stop."

The judge sentenced her to 160 hours of unpaid work and made her the subject of a two-year restraining order, banning her from contact with the victim and from posting about her on social media.

Dutton was also told to complete ten rehabilitation activity days.