Topsham woman given restraining order for harassing neighbour with a pot plant and a wooden log

PUBLISHED: 11:26 27 October 2017

Exeter Magistrates' Court.

Exeter Magistrates' Court.


Mary De Jong, 66, from Topsham was given a two-year restraining order after being found guilty of harassing her neighbour.

A Topsham woman who harassed a neighbour with a pot plant and wooden log and banned him from using his back door has been given a two-year restraining order.

Mary De Jong, 66, of White Street, had pleaded not guilty to harassing neighbour Stephen Johnston over an eight-month period.

She was found guilty of ‘jesticulating’ towards him through his kitchen window, placing a wooden log in front of Mr Johnston back door, placing plants in the way of his kitchen window and pointing CCTV cameras at his house.

At Exeter Magistrates Court on Thursday, (October 26), De Jong was given a two-year restraining order stopping her from obstructing or blocking Mr Johnston’s window or door way. She will also be prohibited from positioning a camera towards Mr Johnston’s property.

De Jong will also have to complete 80 hours unpaid work in the community.

The court heard how, Mr Johnston felt ‘harassed, intimidated and threatened’ by De Jong’s behaviour towards him.

De Jong had sent letters accusing Mr Johnston of trespassing and telling him not to use the back door of his property which opened into her courtyard.

One Easter evening last year, Mr Johnston was looking out of his kitchen window, which looks out at De Jong’s court yard, and saw her ‘jesticulating’ at him from her doorstep.

Around this time she also placed a pot plant in her courtyard in front of Mr Johnston’s window blocking daylight from his kitchen.

That summer, De Jong ‘repeatedly’ placed a wooden log in front of his back door in an attempt to restrict access to the court yard.

The court also heard how earlier this year, De Jong fitted CCTV cameras at a first-floor level of her property pointed at the back door and kitchen window of Mr Johnston’s property.

She was told on three separate occasions by police to change the angle of cameras were pointing.

In mitigation, Susan Snow, defending, told the court how, prior to the dispute, De Jong had been of ‘good character’.

De Jong has been working for a church group and also gives her time to a charitable organisation in Topsham. She also works with a Christian organisation which looks to help people with ‘life controlling habits’.

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