Published: 06:00, 15 October 2020
| Updated: 16:28, 15 October 2020
A mum has told how she lived in fear as a 75-year-old stranger bombarded her with sexually explicit phone calls.
The 24-year-old from Whitstable says she felt helpless as the elderly pervert rang “relentlessly” and said he knew where she lived.
She was one of several women targeted with “graphic and abusive” calls by Michael Bunce, a married grandad from Broadstairs.
Among the other victims was a young woman who he harassed over nine months - telling her he wanted to tie her up.
Although Bunce admits to his crimes, he blames his vile behaviour on medication he was taking for Parkinson’s.
The Whitstable mum’s ordeal began last October as she was sat at home while her young children played among themselves.
The phone rang and an elderly man asked to speak to her sister, before asking: “Are you horny like her?”
Over the next six weeks, Bunce made sexually explicit and suggestive phone calls to the young mum, who has asked to remain anonymous.
She recalled: “He’d say, ‘can you work out what I’m doing?’
“He asked to meet up for a drink and said he wanted to get a hotel room, and that he’d pay me to make videos with him.
“He would ring every Wednesday and Thursday between 11am and 1pm and would always be on a withheld number. If I didn’t pick up, he’d ring relentlessly and he got nastier.”
But in November, Bunce failed to withhold his number. She passed his details onto police, who soon tracked him down to a property in Marshall Crescent, Broadstairs.
“It wasn’t until a good month or so into it that one of the officers said he lives in Kent,” she says. “That was when it changed, as he was not a chancer; he was someone who meant what he was saying.
“When he would say ‘should I come round?’ it felt like he was right outside the door.”
Bunce told the mum-of-two that he knew where she lived and on one occasion he intimated that he saw her children leave her home moments before he rang.
She purchased street-facing CCTV cameras, while her family took it in turns to sleep on her sofa.
Most evenings she would drift off to sleep as the glare of her phone, which was streaming images from the security cameras, illuminated her face.
“Twenty times a night I used to wake thinking someone was knocking on the door,” she said.
“I was told I could block his calls but he was telling me he knew my address and when my kids had left. I felt like by answering the phone, it kept him away from my front door.
“He was letting me know that he was watching me. I felt helpless.”
After Bunce was apprehended by detectives, the mum says he called her once more.
“He said he just wanted to tell me that he’s sorry. I replied that I’ll see him in court.
“He said, ‘would it make you horny to see me in court?’ He obviously isn’t sorry – he’s disgusting.”
A hearing at Margate Magistrates’ Court on October 8 heard how Bunce targeted six women.
Prosecutor Suzanne Soros said Bunce made it clear to his young victims that he knew where they lived.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, one of the women, harassed for nine months, said: “He would say he wanted to tie me up and do things to me. I have suffered with anxiety and this has made it worse. I’m stressed. I am worried about what he is capable of.”
The report also noted that the victim feared she was being followed by Bunce whenever she left her home.
The victims told the pest to stop contacting them – but he continued and in some cases sent indecent text messages.
Ms Soros added: “It would have been young women who received the calls, which were both graphic and abusive.
“What was distressing to the victims was that the defendant had identified their addresses and asked for individuals by name. They experienced a great deal of fear.”
Bunce pleaded guilty to six charges of sending a communication or article of an indecent or offensive nature.
However, he insisted he is “a good man” and blamed his actions on Parkinson’s medication he has been taking since his diagnosis in 2014.
Reading aloud from a letter he said was penned by his GP, he said his “personality change” could be manifestations of an increased dosage of the drugs.
Bunce, who declined legal representation, added: “You don’t know how ashamed I am. I’m nearly 76. Nothing like this has ever happened before.
“I have the best respect for women. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a good man.”
The defendant also admitted that his wife of 58 years is aware of his crimes.
But when chairman of the bench Conrad Nowikow warned that magistrates were considering a custodial sentence and that the case could be sent to crown court, Bunce threatened to take his own life.
“At my age now, I would not go to prison,” he said.
“I will end it. I have been married too long. Something’s been playing with my head.”
Sentencing will be on December 22 at Margate Magistrates’ Court, allowing a pre-sentence report to be prepared. Bunce was released on unconditional bail.