A Californian judge has issued a restraining order to prevent a veteran of the Iraq war from approaching the home of actor Tom Cruise.

Edward Van Tassel, 29, had visited the Mission Impossible star's home on two occasions earlier this month, a Santa Barbara court heard.

The former soldier's attorney Robert Landheer stressed his client was not an obsessive fan, but was hoping to secure Cruise's signature for a campaign to help veterans of the Gulf conflict.

"He is not there to stalk Mr Cruise as some sort of fan-obsessed person," Mr Landheer told the court.

"He wants to enlist him in his mission to get appropriate remedies for soldiers of the Iraq war."

However, superior court judge George Eskin has issued a restraining order to prevent Van Tassel from approaching the Hollywood star or his Beverly Hills property.

Cruise's representative Bert Fields said the actor understood the judge's decision.

"Tom didn't even know about it, and the judge did the right thing - you've got to respect the judge for it. But it was not something Tom applied for," he was quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying.

Van Tassel was admitted to a veterans' hospital near Los Angeles last month, having been arrested when he stood on a freeway overpass with a gun and a protest sign.

"He's coming home like hundreds of other veterans, wounded and suffering from whatever kind of scarring that is," his lawyer explained.

According to Mr Fields, Cruise - who was nominated for a best supporting actor Golden Globe for Tropic Thunder on Thursday - "feels very strongly about veterans of not only the Iraq war, but any veterans of war, and that they should be taken care of".

12/12/2008 13:15:10