Home   Medway   News   Article

Chatham man Roy Fletcher avoids prison after 30-year harassment campaign against Medway Council

By Lynn Cox

A man waged war on council staff in a battle that lasted more than 30 years and cost thousands of pounds, a court heard.

Over the past three decades, 53-year-old Roy Fletcher staged a politically-motivated campaign against officers in charge of finances at the authority because he felt hard done by because of changes to the benefit system.

He first started in 1984 when the Poll Tax was introduced by the government and, on and off over the years, he continued his vendetta against different officers.

Medway Council offices at Gun Wharf in Chatham

Despite county court orders and injunctions banning him from contacting them, he continued to send emails and turn up at Medway Council offices.

However, his latest campaign - in which he sent emails to the council's chief finance officer Michael Hayward - also saw him send emails to a barrister the council had employed to tackle the case.

It resulted in Fletcher appearing in a criminal court being prosecuted for harassment.

Fletcher, of Glebe House, Capstone Road, Chatham, appeared before magistrates in Medway in July where he admitted two charges of harassment without violence and one of harassment by breaching a civil injunction.

He has now appeared at the same court for sentencing.

The court heard how Fletcher started his stalking-type campaign in the 1980s because of government reforms and he blamed the council for a loss of personal income.

Things got worse in 2003, when further benefit changes came in. The authority took him to county court but Fletcher defied all orders and was eventually jailed for harassing council staff.

The hearing happened at Medway Magistrates Court

However, magistrates heard that in September last year, when the government introduced further benefit reforms, Fletcher started sending emails and turning up at council offices and also targeted Francis Hoar, a barrister.

"He was overheard saying he might as well kill Mr Hayward and that he knew what he looked like and what car he was driving”- Piers Restell, prosecuting

Piers Restell, prosecuting, said: "In April (this year), the county court issued an injunction which banned him from contacting either man, but he sent more emails than ever and turned up at Gun Wharf in Chatham and was overheard saying he might as well kill Mr Hayward and that he knew what he looked like and what car he was driving."

The court also heard Fletcher suffered with mental health issues, had poor social skills and no friends.

He now accepted his campaign was over and he had never wanted to harm anyone.

Magistrates jailed him for 120 days but suspended the term for 24 months. He was also banned from going near council offices without an appointment and two restraining orders were placed on him banning him from going near Mr Hayward or Mr Hoar, until another such order is made.

The council has estimated over the 30 years of Fletcher's campaign, it has spent thousands of pounds trying to stop him from harassing staff.

Since September 2013, the authority has spent more than £6,000 fighting this case.

After sentencing, a Medway Council spokesman said: "The council is committed to ensuring that staff can carry out their duties free of harassment and bullying, and will involve the police and the courts where necessary to protect them."

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More