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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 4 March, 2003, 20:00 GMT
Stalker set fire to Dodd's home
Stalker Ruth Tagg pictured with Ken Dodd
Tagg (right) saw Dodd's partner as a love rival
A woman obsessed with Ken Dodd has admitted stalking the veteran comic, setting fire to his home and harassing his partner.

Ruth Tagg sent a dead rat, along with six indecent photographs and 12 letters and cards, to Dodd's Merseyside home.

The mailings from Tagg, of Bristol, were opened by Dodd's partner Anne Jones, who the defendant saw as a love rival, Preston Crown Court heard on Tuesday.

Tagg, 34, pleaded guilty to harassing Miss Jones and arson being reckless as to whether life is endangered, when she appeared at Preston Crown Court on Tuesday.

She also admitted stalking Dodd, by attending several of his shows and sitting in prominent seats in the audience.

I am satisfied that all the evidence indicates [Tagg] remains a potential risk
Mr Justice Morland
Dodd and Miss Jones both attended the court hearing in order to give evidence, but Tagg's guilty plea made that unneccessary.

The court heard mail sent by Tagg, of St John's Crescent, Bedminster, Bristol, was sent between July 2001 and May 2002.

It included t-shirts bearing offensive slogans directed at Miss Jones.

Tagg tried to torch Dodd's house by pushing burning rags through the letterbox on 11 October 11 2001, the court was told.

Ken Dodd arriving at court in Preston
Dodd was not required to give evidence in court
The fire caused 11,000-worth of damage to the ground floor of the house in Knotty Ash, Liverpool.

Tagg knew Dodd and Miss Jones were not in the house at the time and a more serious charge of arson with intent to endanger life was dropped by prosecutors.

Remanding her in custody for psychiatric reports, Mr Justice Morland said: "I'm satisfied...it would not be practical for [the psychiatric] assessment to be carried out except when she is remanded in custody.

"I am satisfied that all the evidence indicates she remains a potential risk, certainly to Miss Jones, possibly to Mr Dodd and others."

The judge said he hoped Tagg's sentencing hearing would take place before Easter.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Peter Marshall
"This was a very different Doddy arriving at court, subdued and under strain"



SEE ALSO:
Woman accused of harassing Dodd
12 Sep 02 |  England
Dodd fan accused of harassment
14 May 02 |  England
Dodd to get Freedom of Liverpool
01 May 01 |  Entertainment



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