‘Confrontational’ Leeds pensioner loses court ASBO appeal

Jeanne Wilding.
Jeanne Wilding.

AN OAP who served a prison sentence for terrorising staff at charity shops in Leeds has failed in her bid to have her ASBO lifted.

A judge who rejected Jeanne Wilding’s application to lift the order described her as having a “confrontational, critical and antagonistic” attitude.

Wilding, 67, was jailed for 15 months in 2013 after a jury heard she left victims psychologically damaged by a concerted campaign of harassment.

The jury found Wilding guilty of six charges of breaching an anti-social social by her behaviour at two charity shops.

Incidents at the premises of the Emmaus and St Vincent’s shops included shouting at staff, refusing to leave or stay away when asked and trying to leave without paying for items.

On one occasion police removed her from one of the shops in handcuffs.

Wilding, of Millwright Street, Mabgate, returned to Leeds Crown Court in a bid to have the ASBO she is still subject to discharged.

The pensioner represented herself during the hearing.

Wilding called several character witnesses to give evidence on her behalf in support of her application. Some described her as “helpful, respectful and courteous” and spoke in glowing terms about the work she does for charity.

Judge Tom Bayliss, QC, said he was rejecting Wilding’s application after observing her give evidence under oath,

He said: “Her attitude to the court was at times confrontational, critical and antagonistic. She will not now accept that she caused any anti-social behaviour.

“She still refuses to accept the verdict of the jury.”

Judge Bayliss added: “My conclusion is that there are two sides to Miss Wilding’s character - a caring and responsible attitude...and a manipulative confrontational attitude.”

Wilding was also ordered to pay £650 court costs despite her claims that she was unable to pay.

The judge added: “You are plainly a woman of some means and you will pay the costs within six months.”

The original trial judge who sentenced Wilding three years ago described her as a “deeply disturbed woman” as she sent her to prison.

Judge Paula Tyler said: “You are capable of destroying or reducing people’s way of life.

“You are highly manipulative with the way you reduce their quality of life and reduce others to a state of virtual desperation.

“I have no doubt that your past behaviour has caused real suffering and you have the capability of causing people suffering and causing real injury to their psychological health.

Wilding told the judge she was “happy” to be sent to prison and would sooner face custody than receive a community punishment.

After the sentence was imposed she said: “This is justice in error and I have good grounds for appeal.”

In addition to the jail term, Wilding was made the subject a further ASBO which includes a ban on entering the St Vincent or Emmaus shops referred to in the case for five years.

During the hearing Wilding referred to the ASBO as “a vindictive person’s charter”.

As prosecutor Chloe Fairley made the application for the new ASBO, Wilding said: “Do your worst. I am tired. I just want to go to prison. I am tired of all the injustice here.”

One witness who gave evidence at the trial, Emmaus general manager Alison Ward, described Wilding’s behaviour at the St Mary’s Street shop as “vile”.

Ms Ward told the jury how she felt intimidated during the confrontation.

An ASBO is a civil order, but breaching an order however is a criminal offence, and violating an ASBO can carry a custodial sentence.

Wilding’s subsequent application to appeal against the conviction was rejected.