'Britain's worst stalker' jailed for life

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The Independent Online

A deranged scientist, branded by police as "Britain's worst stalker", was jailed for life yesterday after targeting 200 victims.

For more than seven years Richard Jan, a 37-year-old "devious and manipulative bully", carried out what he called "World War Three" against health officials, solicitors and others he believed were part of "a grand coalition" trying to section him under the Mental Health Act. He "terrified" victims he had divided into "First and Second Orders of Culpability", among them Liz Brookes, a local councillor. Sentencing him at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court in London, Judge Henry Blacksell said Ms Brookes and her family were lucky to escape when he fire-bombed their home.

Another victim, Shauna Bailey, a social worker he particularly detested, was twice taken to hospital after late-night attacks outside her front door. He also torched her car.

The judge said his "obsession" had begun when his parents, whom he had "bullied and tried to control", called in a mental health team. Despite injunctions, arrests and even jail sentences, a lack of police co-ordination allowed him repeatedly to take up where he left off.

By the time a Scotland Yard team pulled the frightening picture together, people had left jobs, fled homes and changed their names. Some are still suffering stress-related illnesses.

Jan, who had addresses in Streatham, south London, and Paddington, west London, had sworn to carry on his vindictive campaign so long as he "still had breath" and threatened counsel in the case, the court heard.