Jail for man who terrified women with phone calls

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A FARMER was jailed for five years yesterday for terrorising women into injuring themselves, after convincing them he was about to kill their husbands.

Simon Wadland, 29, telephoned a total of 270 women after scanning newspapers for family details of potential targets, Northampton Crown Court was told. His calls were so convincing 11 women - and a girl of 14 who feared for her parents' safety - followed his demands.

Wadland, of Woodford Halse, near Banbury, Oxfordshire, admitted nine specimen charges of making threats to kill and one of being a public nuisance.

Nigel Godsmark, for the prosecution, said his reign of terror ran from December 1988 to March this year and involved calls to women in Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and Leicestershire.

At first, Wadland told women he was holding their daughters hostage, beating and sexually assaulting them. He claimed they owed money for drug deals and made 'ransom' demands for hundreds and thousands of pounds, Mr Godsmark said.

Many of the women were near to collapse when Wadland hung up, but they later contacted their daughters and realised they had been deceived. 'A ransom was demanded, but never received. Monetary gain was not the motive. He simply got pleasure from making such calls.'

In April last year Wadland changed tack, Mr Godsmark told the court. 'He set out to injure and humiliate his victims. The intention was to get them to push safety pins and sewing needles through their nipples, then set fire to their pubic hair.'

Wadland told some women he was seeking vengeance on their husbands whom he was holding hostage. 'The defendant told them: 'If you don't co-operate you will be organising his funeral'.'

Mr Godsmark said the victims often managed to contact their husbands within minutes of the calls. But one woman who burned her pubic hair was found by her husband still on the telephone.

Wadland was finally caught on 30 April this year after police set up recording devices in the homes of likely targets over three counties, the court was told. He initially denied the accusations but later told police he was under severe financial pressure, owing up to pounds 130,000.