Ex-policeman's wife cleared of sending 'offensive' letter - The Rugby Observer

Ex-policeman's wife cleared of sending 'offensive' letter

THE WIFE of a former police officer has been cleared of sending ‘an offensive communication’ to a man she claims has waged a campaign of harassment against them.

Angela Growden had pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to a charge under the Malicious Communications Act of sending a letter with intent to cause distress or anxiety.

Growden, 52, of Colledge Close, Brinklow, near Rugby, was said to have sent a letter which ‘conveyed a message which was indecent or grossly offensive’ to fellow villager David Sampson.

It was alleged she sent the letter to Mr Sampson, who lives in nearby Heath Lane, Brinklow, ‘for the purpose of causing distress or anxiety to the recipient.’

But at a further hearing, prosecutor Angus Robertson said it had been decided to offer no evidence against her.

He explained that Growden’s husband Philip was previously a Warwickshire Police officer, retiring with the rank of Acting Inspector.

Mr Sampson had made a complaint about the force’s handling of an allegation against two men dating back to 2002, which had resulted in no action being taken.

Growden’s husband had been involved in the investigation ‘in some way,’ and an aggrieved Mr Sampson had made public his criticisms and had written a letter to the Home Secretary making an ‘extremely grave allegation’ against the police.

Mr Sampson also wrote a letter to the CPS in which he made allegations against Mr Growden and referred to the two men who were subject of the original allegation as being members of a local drug gang.

“Mr Sampson felt sufficiently aggrieved to have written to the then Home Secretary and to Her Majesty the Queen setting out his complaints.

“It seems his complaints have been investigated and found to be without substance,” said Mr Robertson.

Then in December 2016 a letter was delivered to Mr Sampson’s home, addressed to him and written and delivered by Growden.

In it she used abusive language and said he should ‘stop spreading lies,’ and that he should be ‘sectioned’ and taken away.

“In February the following year there was a confrontation between him and the defendant in which she expressed similar views,” said Mr Robertson.

“Her position has always been that although the letter was sent by her, she was motivated because claims Mr Sampson had been making were wholly unfounded and untrue.

“She said the letter was to deter him from continued false and malicious claims about her husband.”

At a previous hearing Growden, who represented herself, accepted writing the letter, but told the court: “I wanted Mr Sampson to stop the continued harassment which has been going on for 12 years.

“I wanted him to stop what he was doing. That’s why I am not guilty, because I believe I am actually the victim.”

But of the decision to offer no evidence against her, Mr Robertson explained: “The law is that the message has to be indecent or grossly offensive.

“The words must be more than just offensive, and will depend on the facts and circumstances of the individual case.

“The prosecution have come to the conclusion that in the circumstances it would not be in the public interest to continue with the case against this defendant.”

He added that a letter had been sent to Mr Samson telling him he could request a review of the decision to offer no evidence in the case, but no such request had been made.

So Recorder Tom Rochford formally entered a not guilty verdict – but refused an application by Growden for her costs to be paid from central funds.


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