Retired lecturer guilty in hate-mail case
August 9, 2001
A retired university lecturer has been warned he could face jail after being found guilty of carrying out a 12-year hate mail campaign against his neighbours.
James Forster, 68, was convicted of sending a barrage of obscene letters, leaflets and posters - including a pornographic magazine to a 13-year-old girl - and terrorising an elderly woman.
The former Open University lecturer was cleared of allegations that he poured paintstripper on a neighbour's car and threw paint bombs at his house as well as putting glue in a pensioner's door locks.
Throughout the trial, he denied all the charges. A jury of seven women and five men took four and a quarter hours to convict him on seven of the 10 counts.
After the hearing, victim Val Kellett said she was delighted with the verdict.
The 61-year-old who was in court for the verdict said: "My basic reaction is delight, I hope it's the end of the nightmare.
"We were frightened that if he got off he would have started again. I just wanted to see him go off in handcuffs."
Judge David Bryant at Teesside Crown Court adjourned sentencing for an unspecified time and bailed Forster while psychiatric and pre-sentence reports were carried out.
He said to Forster : "I must make it clear to you that the fact that I am granting you bail and the fact that I am seeking reports on you should not be taken by you as giving any indication as to the sentence you are likely to receive.
"All sentences, including a sentence of imprisonment remain an option in this case."
He also ordered health assessments to be carried out on Forster and his sick wife Elizabeth.
After the case Forster refused to comment on the verdict and declined to say if he would appeal.
He was flanked by two police officers as he walked from the court to a waiting silver Saab car which sped away from the building.