A retired 71-year-old woman has pleaded guilty to religiously or racially aggravated harassment after subjecting her Jewish neighbour to a campaign of abuse.
Susan Dean subjected her neighbour Allan Rich to antisemitic abuse which stemmed from a dispute over their adjoining beach huts. The huts come with the seafront properties, but Mrs Dean was initially upset as she felt that Mr Rich and his friends “encroached” and prevented her from enjoying her hut.
Mr Rich is the chairman of the management committee for the block of luxury flats, and was the CEO of a successful company.
Mrs Dean left Mr Rich an anonymous note in which she called him “Jew boy”, a common term of antisemitic abuse.
Three days later, she told Mr Rich in another note that he should leave the country.
She also said that she could not attend a communal barbecue as she “was not Jewish”, which appears to be her suggesting that Jews make non-Jews feel unwelcome and are only concerned with other Jews, a common antisemitic canard.
Mr Rich and his wife were apparently so upset by the antisemitic abuse that they were reduced to tears and were fearful of using their own balcony as Mrs Dean may have been using hers.
The prosecutor said “These aren’t off the cuff handwritten notes, they are typed up notes that were then placed in strategic places and they clearly caused the aggrieved a lot of distress”.
In his appeal to a magistrate asking for a restraining order, Mr Rich stated:
“[Susan Dean’s] religious hate is causing me and my family great sadness.”
“I have never had to deal with such a horrible situation in my whole life. I can no longer go out on my balcony because she will shout abuse and we can no longer walk around the side of our flat because if she is there she will shout at us, so we have to walk our dog on a different route.”
“When we received the first note my wife and I could not sleep that night. We were both led to tears.
I’m not sure why anyone would want to do it or how they could be so vile. I’m not even sure how she knew my religion.
I do not want to be abused at my own home, my wife doesn’t feel safe coming down with other family members and I do not feel safe for my wife to be their alone.
This caused us to cut our stay in Sandbanks short, but she has also been sending abusive letters to our other address.
I’m worried she may react one day and do something out of the ordinary, that she could be stood at my door with a knife, because I do not know how much she hates me and my religion or how far she may go to satisfy her hate”.
Mrs Dean was fined and was given a restraining order, prohibiting her from having any contact with Mr Dean or his family.