An elderly landlady from Mildenhall where there is a large US airbase has been convicted of harassing the American tenants of a house she owned.
As reported by the Bury Free Press, Ipswich Crown Court heard that landlady Rosemary Hill, 74, had “bombarded the family with emails and phone calls containing increasingly ‘vitriolic and personal’ comments.”
The prosecution said that Hill, who declined to give evidence during her trial and called no defence witnesses, may have been trying to hound the couple and their four children out of the property because she had other potential tenants willing to pay a higher rent lined up.
The jury took just under three hours to find Hill unanimously guilty of harassment as opposed to the original charge of racially aggravated harassment, allegedly committed between October 2012 and June 2013.
The court heard evidence from Terri and Dwayne Scott, both US citizens, who said that “within a matter of weeks of moving into a house in Long Road, Feltwell, the relationship with Hill began to deteriorate when they asked for defects with the property to be fixed.”
Mrs Scott had said that Hill’s tone became increasingly terse, personal and offensive and accused the family of failing to look after her property.
Sgt Dwayne Scott who works as an aircraft technician at RAF Mildenhall told the jury that they were getting phone calls sometimes several times a day, and including calls she made to his immediate senior officer at RAF Mildenhall to discuss what she said were problems with the tenancy.
The string of emails and phone calls had led to him suffering from anxiety, stress and depression, said Sgt Scott, and led to him being advised by his senior officer to find another house to live in, said Sgt Scott.
Bury Free Press reported that the jury were given details of an email said to have been sent by Hill to the base commander at RAF Mildenhall saying she wanted to remove the Scott family from her property and which she concluded with: “Americans cannot and will not come into my country, wreak havoc and leave with nothing happening.”
Sgt Scott told the court: “I was disgusted at that point. I couldn’t be any more disgusted or downtrodden by this woman.”
Mr Philip Farr, prosecuting said that hostility towards Americans appeared to be part of the motivation for Hill’s behaviour, despite her being of joint British-American parentage and married to an American.
After the jury returned the guilty verdict, Mr Recorder David Pugh told Hill that she would be sentenced next month.
East Anglia Landlord Guilty of Harassing American Tenants – http://t.co/EtWPFdqMgX
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) March 5, 2015