Pensioner jailed for campaign of terror at shops

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A PENSIONER who terrorised staff at charity shops was described by a judge as a “deeply disturbed woman” as she was jailed for breaching an anti-social behaviour order.

Leeds Crown Court heard that Jeanne Wilding, 64, had left victims psychologically damaged by her intimidating outbursts as she was jailed for 15 months yesterday.

Wilding, of Millwright Street, Mabgate, Leeds, was found guilty of six out of seven charges of breaching her Asbo after a trial last month.

The order prevented her from entering the premises of Emmaus and St Vincent’s shops in Leeds and causing “harassment, alarm or distress”.

The prosecution had said Wilding had targeted the charity shops in a concerted campaign of harassment, shouting at staff, refusing to leave or stay away when asked and tried to leave without paying for items.

Jailing her, judge Paula Tyler said: “You are a deeply disturbed woman. 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 your past behaviour has caused real suffering and you have the capability of causing people suffering and causing real injury to their psychological health.

“You knew the effect your behaviour was likely to have on other victims.”

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 added: “This is justice in error and I have good grounds for appeal.”

Wilding represented herself during the hearing after her barrister, Deborah Smithies, said she was withdrawing her representation. The lawyer told the court: “There has been a breakdown in our relationship.”

The pensioner was also made the subject of another Asbo which includes a ban on entering the St Vincent or Emmaus shops referred to in the case for the next 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, 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. During one disturbance police were called to the premises and Wilding was led away in handcuffs.

Wilding was found not guilty of one Asbo breach charge relating to David Kirk, a member of staff at Emmaus, which provides accommodation and work for homeless people.

The prosecution said Mr Kirk had moved out of one of the charity’s houses and into a flat beside Wilding.

The jury heard Wilding made Mr Kirk work for free and if he refused she launched into “a torrent of abuse” and “flew into a rage”.

Wilding also entered the St Vincent’s store and allegedly caused alarm to staff, and she was later arrested by police.

On another occasion at the St Vincent’s store, Wilding got another person to hand a letter to a member of staff which was said to be derogatory.

Giving evidence, Wilding claimed she had been the real victim and denied being abusive or threatening.

Referring to the occasion when she was handcuffed, she said: “It is my clear recollection that any disturbance that was caused was by the staff at Emmaus. And it was only the police who breached the peace.”

Describing the way she behaves during confrontations, she told the court she tended to “go into a steely calm mode”.

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