Campaigners hit out as 'oldest stalker' lands in dock for second time

Rachel Horman, chair of PaladdinRachel Horman, chair of Paladdin
Rachel Horman, chair of Paladdin
A sailor dubbed Britain's oldest stalker has admitted harassing an elderly victim, who is suffering from cancer.

The 73-year-woman, from Chorley, was bombarded with letters, cards, magazines, gifts and a court document by nuisance pensioner Colin Bagot Hodgson, 78, who hit the headlines three years ago for similar offences.

Preston Magistrates’ Court heard between December 15 and January 12, Hodgson, who lives in a £400,000 stone built cottage in Copster Green, near Blackburn, harassed the widow, who is suffering bone cancer.

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It is understood she had only met him once in 2012, as he was an acquaintance of her late husband.

The court heard in December she started receiving letters, and he started turning up at her home, posting notes, letters, magazines and cards through her door asking her to contact him.

The worried pensioner went to the police on January 5 to complain about his behaviour and he was issued with an official harassment notice.

A week later he was seen outside her house by a neighbour, who alerted police. Hodgson had blatantly posted his harassment notice through her letterbox - with a hand written note on the top asking for her phone number.

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He was given an eight week jail term, suspended for 18 months.

The case has attracted criticism from Paladin, the National Stalking Advocacy Service, and today its chairman, Lancashire solicitor Rachel Horman, said: “ The authorities need to look at why this man was given another harassment notice despite his history, before the matter led to charges.

“ Harassment notices are not supposed to be used in certain cases - you are dealing with someone who has an obsession.

“You only had to read his comment outside the court from the last incident - that he had been “led down the garden path” - to see he could do it again.

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“This case highlights how people of all ages can be affected by harassment.”

She added a review was taking place into how harassment notices were used nationally.

In a chillingly similar case in 2013, a 64-year-old widow from Singleton, near Blackpool, was bombarded with unwanted gifts, phone calls, invitations and notes from Hodgson after the pair met in her village church, close to where his yacht was moored on the River Wyre .

Despite a police caution he persisted and things came to a head when she visited her husband’s grave on the anniversary of his death and found that the sailor had left her a love letter on his grave, knowing she would visit.

He received a 50 day jail term, suspended for 12 months, after admitting stalking the florist.