Neighbour from hell faces jail for tormenting man with voodoo doll
Mar 19 2010 by Vicky Farncombe, Birmingham Mail
A NEIGHBOUR from hell is facing jail for tormenting a widowed old soldier with a voodoo doll and messages from Satan.
NHS worker Ken Butcher waged a four-month campaign of terror against ex-Grenadier Guard David Hallows and his son James.
Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard Butcher posted abusive messages to them mentioning Mr Hallows’ disabled wife Sylvia, who had just died of bowel cancer.
He also painted a five star Pentogram – the mark of the devil – on Sylvia’s parking bay. On another occasion, 44-year-old James found a doll made from hay with pins in it in a big attached to his car’s windscreen wiper.
And at other times, Butcher sent letters warning “Satan will be visiting you” and a drawing of the devil as a goat.
In a statement read to the court by David Devine, prosecuting, 70-year-old Mr Hallows said: “This has made me very angry and upset. I’m scared for my family.
“He has no right to talk about my wife like that. She’s not here to defend herself.”
Butcher, 58, of Coventry Road, Sheldon, pleaded guilty to the prolonged harassment, which began last November.
The court heard he believed members of the Hallows family were responsible for a scratch on his car, although he had no proof and never made an official complaint to police.
Alex Atkins, defending, said Butcher, who lives with his wife, had led a law-abiding life and was on medication for anxiety and depression.
The case was adjourned for pre-sentence reports but chairman of the bench Elizabeth Haskins told Butcher she would not rule out a prison sentence.
She said: “It is very unpleasant what you have done.
“You might well have thought you were provoked but the level of what you have been doing far outweighs any provocation you might have.”
After the hearing, Mr Hallows said he hoped Butcher escaped jail as he needed help instead of punishment.
He said: “What he did didn’t worry me. You have to believe in all that for it to bother you and I don’t. I believe everybody’s good at heart.
““I was only worried for my family. My granddaughter is pregnant and I didn’t want her to be upset.
“We went to the police because we just wanted it to stop. I just want to live the rest of my days in peace and enjoy my children and grandchildren.”