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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 April 2006, 20:29 GMT 21:29 UK
Neighbour waging 'hate campaign'
Jeanne Wilding
An interim Asbo is already in place against Jeanne Wilding
A retired businesswoman is running a "rampaging campaign of hatred" as she turns her countryside community into a "hamlet of horrors", a court has heard.

Calderdale Council is seeking a full anti-social behaviour order against Jeanne Wilding of Walsden, West Yorks.

Magistrates heard Miss Wilding, 57, was a professional troublemaker who caused traumatic levels of harassment, alarm and distress to her neighbours.

Her case involves 259 alleged incidents between July 2004 and November 2005.

'Pure evil'

Deputy District Judge Sandra Keen is to decide whether to grant the order after hearing evidence of her anti-social behaviour.

Representing the council, James Ward said Miss Wilding had moved to the area in 2002 and from then on "Bottomley became the 'Hamlet of Horrors' and 'Hamlet from Hell'".

The court heard a long-running dispute between Miss Wilding and at least 15 people or organisations in Walsden had led to the families involved watching each other with banks of surveillance cameras.

Mr Ward said she started her "rampaging campaign of anti-social behaviour, acts of hatred and acts of pure evil" against neighbours Penny and Nigel Pratt and Paul and Nicola Cryer.


Examples included damaging vehicles, beaming floodlights into her neighbour's home, tipping oil over their driveway at night and putting dead animals in people's gardens.

She is also said to have disrupted the mental health of children in the hamlet.

In July 2003, Miss Wilding was banned from the Acorn Centre drop-in centre for vulnerable youths in Todmorden, after she upset staff and children and reduced volunteers to tears.

Mr Ward said it had been noted that Miss Wilding picked on the most vulnerable people.

"In her defence, Miss Wilding claims that the application for this Asbo is a vexatious response to her complaint against the council and that it is a `defamatory witch-hunt'," he said.

"This is, of course, we say, just rubbish.

Interim Asbo

"This case is not about winners and losers. It is not about crime and punishment. It is about stopping the anti-social behaviour of Miss Wilding and making an order to protect the community."

He said as a result of Miss Wilding's behaviour three residents had sought medical help for depression, neighbours' homes were unsaleable and insurers were questioning whether continuing damage to the Pratts' car was uninsurable.

"They live dreading what they will come home to," he added.

An interim Asbo currently bans Miss Wilding from pointing her surveillance cameras into neighbouring homes, obstructing a communal area between the houses and dumping rubbish, including animal corpses, as well as contacting the Pratts or the Cryers.

The hearing was adjourned until Friday.

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