The former manager of Britney Spears has been ordered to stay away from the singer for three years.

Sam Lutfi, and lawyer Jon Eardley, has been ordered not to contact the pop star, threaten her or to act "on Ms Spears' behalf or purporting to act on her behalf".

The ruling by Los Angeles superior court judge Aviva Bobb follows the passage of a three-year restraining order preventing Britney's ex-boyfriend Adnan Ghalib from contacting the Toxic star.

Both Lutfi and Eardley must stay at least 100 yards away from the 27-year-old singer, her two sons and her family members' home, and must not attempt to contact the Circus artist through phone, mail and email.

They "absolutely" plan to appeal the ruling, said Lutfi's attorney Bryan Freedman.

"Never before in history has a restraining order been issued against someone who answered another person's cries for help," he told People magazine.

It emerged earlier this month that Lutfi and Ghalib had smuggled a mobile telephone to Britney, resulting in Jamie Spears' recent application for permanent restraining orders against Lutfi and Eardley, after the granting of a permanent order against Ghalib.

While Lutfi's younger sister Christina told the Los Angeles court the singer was unhappy with her father's conservatorship of her affairs, several witnesses testified that Britney was fearful of Lutfi.

Her father Jamie's lawyer Joel Boxer said restraining order requests against Lutfi, Eardley and Ghalib were an effort to protect Britney from "people who I think are fairly characterised as predators".

Samuel Ingham, court-appointed lawyer to mother-of-two Britney, told the court last week his client's mental and physical wellbeing had "improved dramatically" since her father Jamie was given temporary conservatorship of her estate over a year ago.

"[A permanent restraining order against them] is in my client's best interest," he added. "She has suffered emotional distress."

Since Jamie Spears was granted control of his daughter's estate, she has made a public recovery from the apparent mental breakdown that saw her hospitalised in 2008, releasing a new album and embarking on a new tour.

29/04/2009 09:15:58