United Kingdom

Grandmother gets restraining order for calling neighbours 'Fred and Rose West' in poison pen letters

A grandmother has been handed a restraining order after calling her neighbours 'Fred and Rose West' in a poison pen letter campaign after they rowed over a disabled parking spot.

Helen Dodgson, 55, also accused neighbour Gordon Mears of making unwanted advances towards her and sent his wife Gillian Baines, who suffers from cancer, a series of vile messages through the post. 

One branded Mr Mears a 'perverted t**t' who wants 'money for sexual favours' whilst another to Mrs Baines read: 'Hope you are okay because, you see, you are going to need a new rape kit.'

Police later arrested neighbour Dodgson over the offensive messages but as a result of her unfounded allegations Mr Mears had to move out of the couple's home in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

In a statement to police, grandmother Mrs Baines said: 'She has been targeting me since June 2020 and I cannot take it anymore.

Grandmother Helen Dodgson was handed a restraining order after harassing her neighbours by sending them vicious letters which compared them to killers Fred and Rosemary West

'Every time I leave my address, she will shout abuse at me. I suffer from cancer, so the last thing I need is to be targeted at my home address. I'm trying to make the most of my life that could end any day.

'The abuse is affecting my mental health and I feel I can't walk down my own street. Her behaviour leaves me feeling suicidal.

'Gordon has a heart stent and suffers from PTSD. He doesn't need the unnecessary stress of this woman's behaviour. I feel unsafe in my own home and neighbourhood because of her.' 

At Tameside Magistrates Court, Dodgson, a former bingo hall worker from Stockport, admitted harassment and was handed a 12-month restraining order.

The order bans Dodgson from contacting the couple and another neighbour and she was made subject of a 12 month community order requiring her to complete 100 hours of unpaid work.

The court heard the two women who lived opposite each other for six years had previously been friends but fell out in February 2020.

Gillian Baines was repeatedly called Rose West in a campaign of harassment by her neighbour Helen Dodgson after the former friends fell out over a disabled parking spot outside her home

The court heard Gordon Mears (pictured with Gillian) had to move away from their home because of the harassment carried out by neighbour and former friend Helen Dodgson

Initially they argued over over a disabled parking bay being made outside Mrs Baines' home but their relationship deteriorated when Dodgson accused Mr Mears of making 'inappropriate comments' towards her and a female friend during a trip to Manchester.

'That caused some anger with the complainant.' said Richard Blackburn prosecuting. 

'She went round to the defendant's address and said: "You have taken the piss out of me for the last time. I will not be doing anything more for you. You were out of order!"

'But that started the campaign of targeted harassment. The complainant received a number of notes through the door from the defendant calling her Rosemary West and telling her to watch her back and talking about previous shootings in the area.

'In July 2020, she received a Facebook message referring to Mr Mears, calling him a "perverted t**t" who wanted "money for sexual favours". 

'Later she received another note from the defendant saying she "knew people high up in the police who would sort things out for her". 

Dodgson, pictured at Tameside Magistrates Court, was handed as 12-month restraining order which bans her from contacting her neighbours and must carry out 100 hours of unpaid work

'She was at her home at 8am, when more notes were posted through the letterbox addressed to her husband, calling them Fred and Rosemary West. Another note said: "You leave me no choice. I tried to reason with you. I will do whatever I can to protect myself".

'Gillian Baines saw the threats about shooting to be genuine and sincere and police arrested the defendant in December.

'At her home, police found an unfinished letter addressed to 'Fred and Rosemary West' in her living room.

'All of this has been corrosive for Miss Baines' wellbeing. The complainant's husband had to leave the address and live elsewhere all because of the issue with the defendant.'

Dodgson was interviewed and bailed but earlier this year renewed her campaign when she spotted Mr Mears dropping a friend off in the street.

The court was told that during another rant she called him a 'paedophile' and added: 'You and Rose are going to get done for wasting police resources and time. The CCTV is great, and I've got you on camera.'

JPs at Tameside Magistrates Court also ordered Dodgson to pay £595 in costs and surcharges

A further Facebook message to Mrs Baines read: 'To Gillian Baines, you are a beautiful woman, but your boyfriend is a perverted t**t. I would never disrespect you. We are still reeling.'

In mitigation defence lawyer James Riley said: 'The defendant will say that the complainant's husband made sexual advances and inappropriate comments to her and a friend and she was quite shocked when the complainant came round and stating having a go at her.

'Basically, it was a 'neighbours at war' situation and the defendant feels bullied.

'She regrets her actions, and ultimately, demonstrates remorse. She is trying to leave and get out of this situation and move to an area to be close to her daughter.' 

Dodgson was also ordered to pay £595 in costs and surcharges.

The chair of the bench told her: 'This was particularly nasty. If we had received those letters, we would have been very, very upset, and I am sure you realise that now - at least we hope you do.'

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