A criminal obsession

A sad story in court here, reported by Stuff:

Simon Hugh Bell is convinced Marlborough Sounds victim is alive and living in Blenheim.

He is so convinced that he is accused of tracking down the address of the woman he believes is Olivia from her licence plate, spying on her family, taking her photograph, handing out leaflets about her around Blenheim, and writing to members of Parliament.

The 54-year-old is now on trial in Wellington District Court, accused of criminally harassing the woman. He has pleaded not guilty. …

The Crown said Bell was a campaigner, who even wrote to the Hope family and went to the police to say he had found her. He wanted Watson freed, saying he was innocent.

The woman told the court people would come up to her in public or go to her husband’s work and say they had received a leaflet claiming that she was Olivia.

The court was told Bell claimed to have sent or handed out leaflets to 99 per cent of Blenheim. One began: “Dear Gerald and Jan Hope, your daughter is living in Blenheim.” It was signed by Bell.

The woman said it shattered her sense of safety and was such a callous thing to do to the Hope family. “It felt like it was a constant deluge with people bringing it up the whole time.”

Bell is obviously nuts (in a pejorative rather than legal sense). How awful for the Hope family to have to endure this, as well as the unfortunate young woman concerned.

Not that many trials for criminal harassment. It will be interesting to see the outcome.

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