Asbo millionairess 'was victim of horrific ordeal'

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The Independent Online

A millionairess given an Asbo after tormenting her neighbours told a court today she was in fact the victim of a "horrific ordeal" which she was lucky to survive.







Patricia Bailey, 61, accused people living on the same floor of her luxury apartment block in central London of conspiring against her and making false allegations.



Bailey, a former property developer, was given an Asbo after residents of Collingwood House, Great Titchfield Street, complained about her abusive behaviour.



Mrs Bailey, now of St John's Wood Road, north-west London, is appealing against the ruling at Southwark Crown Court.



Asked how she felt about the allegations made against her, she said she had been the victim of a "reign of terror" and said: "It was a horrific ordeal for which we were very lucky to get out in one piece."



She accused neighbours of threatening to kill her and her husband Peter Engen and of attempting to force their way into their flat by banging on the front door and the glass balcony door with a metal bar.



She said they feared for their lives during the incidents in 2007 and 2008 and reported them to the police.



Mrs Bailey told the court those living on the fifth floor tormented the couple with noisy parties, loud music, late-night power showers and misuse of a fire exit.



Describing the effect of her "ordeal", she said she was suffering from post-traumatic stress.



"When you've been that close to death it's very upsetting in your mind," she added.



She denied a series of allegations, including making a Nazi salute at neighbour Daniel Kellett and throwing bleach at a neighbour when she lived in a previous flat.



Ali Yousefian, a successful banker, was reduced to tears yesterday when he told the court about the alleged bleach incident in a lift in a block of flats in Finchley Road 20 years ago.



The court heard that Mrs Bailey described Mr Yousefian as "evil" and an "arrogant conman" in a book she wrote called Bailey's Raw Deal.



She claimed the book was not only about the Yousefians but also about "injustice" and her "Liverpudlian sense of humour".



She also blamed the "untimely" death of her former husband, Peter Bailey, on the harassment she alleged they suffered at the hands of Mr Yousefian during their dispute in the late 1980s and early 1990s.



She said: "It put an enormous strain on Peter.



"During that time Peter Bailey died of a massive heart attack which his family are convinced was due to all this anxiety and stress and the daily abuse."



James Couser, representing Westminster City Council, suggested Mrs Bailey's account was "all fantasy" and suggested she became "fixated" on people's lives.



He asked: "Do you accept that any of the incidents that are alleged against you happened?"



Mrs Bailey replied: "Incidents occurred but not in an accurate way that becomes stated as a deflected deception role reversal to misrepresent Peter Engen and myself."



Recorder Jeremy Donne QC asked if she believed her neighbours had mounted a "conspiracy" against her to force her out of the property.



"I believe that one way or another they wanted me out of the building - dead or alive," she replied.