Former councillor guilty of stalking

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The Independent Online
A FORMER Conservative councillor was yesterday convicted of mounting an 18-month stalking campaign which left his ex-mistress clinically depressed.

Douglas Pallett, 60, of Colchester, Essex, was found guilty of causing actual bodily harm to postmistress Lynda Guglielmi, aged in her mid- 40s.

The jury at Chelmsford Crown Court found him not guilty of causing Mrs Guglielmi grievous bodily harm, on the direction of Judge John Sennitt,

The judge adjourned sentencing until next month for psychiatric reports and remanded Pallett, a former member of Essex County Council and Tendring District Council, in custody. Pallett, who worked as a driver for a car dealer, pleaded not guilty and maintained he was the victim of a "Tory Mafia plot".

During the four-day trial, the court heard that Mrs Guglielmi, a parish councillor in Lawford, Essex, became the victim of an anonymous hate campaign in January 1996, six months after her two-year affair with Pallett ended. Graffiti calling her a "whore" was daubed on a school where she was chairman of governors; explicit, obscene and racist mail was sent to her, her neighbours and members of her family; and cards were placed in telephone kiosks advertising her services as a prostitute.

Forged letters purporting to be from the Royal Mail were sent to elderly Lawford residents alleging her post office was being investigated for financial malpractice. Police found two copies of the forged letters on a floppy disk in Pallett's home computer.

Divorcee Mrs Guglielmi cried and shook as she told the jury how the campaign had been a "nightmare", turning her from a "strong, calm and controlled" person into a "despairing neurotic". She moved home in an attempt to escape her persecutor - to no avail. "I don't think it will ever end whilst he is free," she said.

She said that during the affair with Pallett, which began when both were married, he had fantasised about rape and abduction - and she feared she might be kidnapped. The jury heard that while the hate campaign was going on Pallett was continuing to profess his love.