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Following a long campaign of harassment directed against a woman who allegedly "cursed" her, a U.K. court has ordered Hilary Joy Osborne not to have any contact with her victim for the next two years. According to testimony given in court, Osborne, a 45-year-old resident of Glastonbury, became obsessed with a neighbour, Lynda Brown, whom she accused of witchcraft and placing "voodoo curses" on her. Brown is a spiritualist and practicing Druidist who teaches pagan drumming, mantra chanting, and Buddhist philosophy.
Over the course of a ten-month period, Osborne subjected Brown to repeated harassment including episodes of screaming, banging on her walls at different times during the day and night, and making threats to burn down her house. One one occasion, she even threw a golf club at her. Despite calls to the police who ordered Osborne to leave her neighbour alone, Brown and her lodgers reported being awakened late at night by Osborne screaming "“you have people in the walls talking to me, take these curses off me you ****ing witch”.
In the victim impact statement submitted to the court, Brown reported that Osborne's harassment had made her life a "living hell" and that she had beefed up security at her house due to the threats. The statement goes on to say that, "I don’t feel safe in my own home and try to be out as much as I can and have also received threats to kill me. “I have disturbed sleep and am on medication to calm me and when I get home late at night I have to text my friends to reassure them I am safe. I cannot leave my windows open and it is almost intolerable and it has seriously impacted on my ability to work as she has also sought to discredit me with colleagues and potential employers.”
While Osborne pleaded not guilty, she was finally sentenced after refusing to attend court on a previous occasion. Prosecutor Lucy Coleman described the horrendous pattern of abuse she directed against Brown including standing outside her house and saying that she was "sick to death of her spells." “The partner of one of Miss Brown’s sisters also received an email from her asking if could ‘stop that woman putting spells and voodoo on me’, Coleman added. “She also stopped the complainant’s two lodgers in the street and said ‘you don’t know what that woman is doing to me. On another occasions the victim was hanging out her washing and Osborne started shouting ‘witch, witch, take it off you witch’.”
Her defense attorney, Ray Peters, reported that a psychiatric report showed his client was suffering from untreated mental health problems He also reported that she felt, “let down by the police and local authority who she says do not appear to have investigated her complaints.”
During the two years the restraining order will run, Osborne is ordered not to have any contact with Lynda Brown, whether directly or indirectly. She is also liable for court costs.
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