A woman who was harassed over the internet for 12 years has finally won damages in one of the longest-running cases of online trolling.

Lindsey Goldrick Dean was subjected to ‘emotional and distressing’ abuse that damaged her relationships, career and personal life, according to a statement read out today in court.

The court heard that Goldrick met the defendant Paul Curran through the Guardian’s Soulmates dating website in 2004. She decided that she did not want to see him after a few dates but he began a relentless campaign of harassment that would only end in March last year.

Curran created dozens of websites using Dean’s name on which he published both true and false private information about her. He also sent letters and emails to people she knew to tell them to go and view his websites.

Curran even purchased Google banner advertising with a photo of Dean and a link to the offending websites. As recently as 2015 he created fake social media accounts on Twitter purporting to be her.

The personal details published on the websites have been kept private as have the financial terms of the settlement. As part of the agreement, Curran has agreed to a court order to stop the campaign of harassment.

According to the joint settlement agreement, read out by Dean’s barrister Gervase De Wilde, Curran accepted that his behaviour amounted to harassment and has apologised for any distress caused.

Dean’s solicitor, Yair Cohen, a partner at London firm Cohen Davis Solicitors, said the case was one of the longest-running cases of its type and a landmark example of both misuse of private information and harassment. The case was conducted with support from the bar Pro Bono Unit.

Gabor Bognar of Outer Temple Chambers also worked on the case.