My experiences of Harassment

I was attacked three times

  1. In the kitchen – no idea what caused it. No real injuries but could have been ‘tragic’ in the sense that this was two days before I was due to leave for a well-paid and prestigious job in Spain.

  2. In my room – he just walked in and attacked me – no idea at all what caused it. Received a nasty knock on the head when I went down, and the ‘bump’ is still there. My shirt was ripped and destroyed as was my phone line. Fountain-pen ink was sprayed widely.

  3. He kicked my door in my face – no idea what caused it . For a few seconds, I did genuinely believe I had lost my eye. My contact lens needed to be fished out of the side of my eye at hospital, with a certain amount of blood (not a vast amount but enough to show the manner in which I was hit). I needed to attend QA Eye hospital on five occasions, but still have problems with my eyes, eg. when looking ‘backwards’, or when looking at TV for prolonged periods ‘at an angle’ Soon after I lost all the teeth from my upper right-hand jaw - there is obviously no direct proof that the two events were connected but this would definitely be consistent with the way my skull felt at the time of the incident.

The Police did actually arrest him after this third 'event' but although it had now become obvious that I needed 'assistance' and just as it became obvious that some deterrent effect would be needed, the Police gave him a caution, which he treated as being let off, and then proceeded to harass me worse than before.

This he did -

'Mental' Problems

As inferred already, this was a problem due essentially to mental problems. There was no way he going to 'grow out of it' and there was no way that he would understand that a caution was a punishment - it is precisely because of this 'problem' that the police would have needed to be more effective to have any deterrent effect.

It was all very strange - to quote one example, I had come to recognize that he would throw a wobbly every time we defrosted the freezer - when it became necessary, I had to do it on Sunday morning while he was out delivering his papers. There is no point in spending great amounts of time in wondering whether defrosting the freezer should upset him so much.

'Uncertain' Problems

Naturally my list of woes extends into areas of suspicion where I have no certain evidence, only doubts.

An order for running shoes never arrived. Around the same time I got three 'funny phone calls' on the same day, from someone who withheld their number - despie mre being ex-directory. One call was a 'silent' message left on my answerphoen, another one was detected via 1471 but the last one arrived just after I had gone to bed and the caller stayed on long enough to hear a radio in the background before they rang off (when I mention above the double door-slamming that occured about hourly on average, there was always but always a double door-slamming just after I went to bed).

A student once sent me their GCSE coursework for verification, ignoring my advice to photocopy it. The coursework never arrived.

Slobby Attitudes

As I imply above, my harasser was the most bone-idle person I have ever left in my entire life. He would spend ever single day, on his arse, watching TV. During the whole time he was there, the number of occasions (that I am aware of) that he went out for longer than an hour could be counted on the fingers of both hands (excluding the case of his paperboy job in the morning). Given that he would slam the door every time he went through it, I didn't have to take any great pains to work out whether he was out or in

This laziness pervaded everything. Again as already implied, the over became completely filthy and emitted brown stains all over the back (which just stayed there) and contaminating the air which I could detect via my breathlessness. Needless to say the hob area just steadily accumulated filth, never being cleaned.

Dirty fingerprints from his paperboy job pervaded everywhere, seemingly - coating the kettle and the freezer, not just the doors etc.

And we had mice. Some people might make a connection betwen the arrival of a slob and the arrival of mice - but not the landlord. He refused to do anything to get rid of the mice, with statements like

There's mice everywhere in Portsmouth - you can ask anyone
and

There's no use in getting a professional in - they just put poison down

(the landlord was the proprietor of a shop selling food)

And he refused point-blank to take the rubbish out. Reluctance to take the rubbish out is a common-enough attitude but a total blank refusal is not. On one ocassion we just let it go and it got to the state where the kitchen was being taken over by flies - but still he wouldn't take the bag out. My colleague latterly did take it out (simultaneously applying fly-spray).

When M. arrived (and I had become very reluctant to take the bag every time myself), he reacted by just placing a carrier bag over the back of a chair and using that while waiting in vain for the rubbish to be taken out.

Much as I might have liked to do that myself, it would have been like a red rag to a bull w.r.t. my harasser. M. was safe because he was of larger stature than me. This is a salient feature - I am only 1.68m tall and my harasser could attack me at any time without any fear of retaliation. The standard word to use for this behavior is 'bullying'. For me, it was a direct affront to my dignity, day in day out for a period measured in years, and I will not be forgetting about it easily.

Lack of Intelligence

On one occasion the main fuse blew. I could hear him exit his room, lock the door (the fuses were only next door), be confused by the fusebox, unlock his own room again, re-exit and lock his door again, presumably on the way to report the incident to the landlord- before he could leave, one of the other residents exited his own room and 'spoilt the fun'. On latter occasions when the lights fused (which was not uncommon), then unles you got to the fusebox first, he would (without a bye or leave) switch the main fuse off, adjust the lights fuse, before switching the main fuse back on

As indication of conditions in general, we had problems with the pilot ligt foer the hot water which the landlord never bothered to fix. It was no real problem - you just made sure not to turn the hot water too fast but if the pilot light went out it was just a simple flick of a switch to re-light it. My harasser could never cope with either of these solutions. The hot water was always off which starts to get on your nerves. Worse still, he screwed the hot water down really tight so that it was always an effort to unscrew it - as though someone (i.e. me) was responsibl e for deliberately turning the hot water off

A problem that did not affect me directly early on was when other other residents started complaining about the washing machine being on very often. It turned out that my harasser was using the machine to wash items of clothing individually. What I did experience at about the same time was that he manged to have soap suds pouring out of the machine on to the kitchen floor. This scenario 'repeated itself' several times when as aprt and parcel of always following me into the kitchen, he would enter the kitchen, insert one item into the washing machine and switch the machine on. I fould this to be very, very threatening but what do I say to a third party - that I felt threatened by him using the washing machine?

Corollary

Before my harasser was arrested for his third assault on me, he actually managed to get me arrested by informing the police that I had attacked him with a knife, in the kitchen.

He attacked me on the Monday. I made a formal complaint to the Police on Tuesday (because I spent Monday afternoon and evening in hospital). On the Wednesday, about 1700, he started acting up while I was in the kitchen - on me telling him to 'leave me alone', he stormed off with words : "I'll get you, my dad's in the CID".

About quarter of an hour leter, four police officers turned up and kicked my door open (I was on the phone at the time and initially thought that my harasser had managed to corral some accomplices - I was urgently asking the person on the phone to summon help). The police handcuffed me and led me, in full view of the neighborhood, into a van manned by a fifth policeman.

Reading the statement my attacker made, it seems likely that he had not actually seen me in the kitchen - I was standing at a table behind the door while he was standing in the doorway. His statement said I was wearing a grey top whereas I was actually wearing a white T-shirt far too big for me with a large pictorial image on the front advertising some African charity

And best of all, despite giving a description of my physical appearance including hairstyle etc.., there was no mention of the black eye that he had given me 48 hours beforehand.

Anyway I was eventually let go without charge.

A frightening thing about this incident (i.e. frightening for myself) is that if I had actually been the owner of a knife then I am sure I would have had it on my person during this period, purely for self-protection.

I have made a note already that this experience did not seem to put him off following me into the kitchen on every subsequent occasion that I went into the said room. Likewise continually slamming the door adjacent to my room, regularly throwing abuse at me, etc. etc. etc. are not recommended activities to direct towards someone who has attacked you with a knife.

That is to say, his subsequent activities should be enough to convince anyone that the 'knife attack' did not actually happen.

There is the question of the role of his father in all this.I have not been able to find out whether his father was directly involved or not.

There is the question also of whether he was indirectly involved. I wonder often whether there is a specific method of 'reducing' a potential punishment for wrong-doing by accusing your victim of some wrong-doing before you are yourself arrested. This could obviously be a factor in the Portsmouth Police awarded him such a lenient 'punishment' - whether he was instructed in this course of action by his father is something I haven't totally discounted.

For completeness, I should add that his statement on this occasion contained alegations that I made a habit of watching him whenever he went out.

On one level, this would be hard to do given that he never went out.

From a logistic viewpoint, if I was to do this I couldn't leave it until I knew he was exiting the flat because he would be gone before I knew it. I would have to get up and watch him every time he went to the kitchen or bathroom as well to ensure that I was watching him every time he exited the flat. His stement contained no allegation that I watched him every time he went to the kitchen or bathroom.

Nevertheless, very early on in this whole sorry episode he had started making allegations to the landlord that I was spying on him. What information I could garner by spying on him is not clear, apart from which television channel he was watching.

Beginnings

Going back in time, two things stand out 'right at the beginning'.

1. He started to complained to the landlord that I was 'spying on him'. (If I had been spying on him, I would have garnered a lot of useful information about what TV programs he had been watching, and not much else)

2. He had an endearing habit of leaving the front door open. I shouldn't have to spend too much time with the likes of the Police discussing the problems with this action but there was also another inconvenient consequence stemming from the unpleasant draft it caused. I remeber those cold winter nights when I was continually making sure everything was shut as tight as it could be, and continually having to shut the said front dooe because I knew he continually left it open.

One night, I shut the front door again, to which he immediately appeared shouting something like : "I've had enough of you", before storming off to complain to the landlord. I know this because the landlord then rang me up - then followed some surreal conversation during which he was unable to advance one single reason as to why the 'tenant from hell' was upset but the latter was obviously very upset, therefore that was proof that I had done something wrong."

At no time in the future was any hint given as to what I had done wrong.