An annoying neighbour who distressed a resident by stating terror victim Lee Rigby deserved to die has been found guilty of stalking.
Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard during a trial on Monday, how Mohammed Dar, 52, of Ley Gardens, Alfreton, admitted to police that he made the terror-related comment about the murdered soldier during a mobile phone call as neighbour Louise Mountford walked by.
Dar said: “I was on the telephone talking to my brother and he mentioned Lee Rigby. I made a comment which I now regret. It was one of the things I said to my brother and I am sorry I said it.”
The defendant had also been accused of following Ms Mountford, staring into her home and dressing in outfits as taunts. However, magistrates only found Dar guilty of stalking Ms Mountford on the basis police had spotted him staring into her home twice when they responded to complaints.
Magistrates explained they could not convict Dar on the basis of the Lee Rigby comment because the incident had not happened during charge dates of September and November 2013 and other alleged incidents were dismissed because they had involved unconfirmed dates.
Dar had faced accusations of harassing Ms Mountford while allegedly delighting over the Twin Towers attack during another phone call. Ms Mountford claimed Dar used costumes and props during alleged taunts including binoculars, a Great Britain hat and a headscarf.
Dar said he had bought the hat during Prince William’s wedding, used the headscarf to keep warm and used binoculars because he is interested in astronomy. He claimed neighbours were persecuting him and argued one resident’s video footage of him moving around strangely for long periods outside his home, lying in the road, standing on step ladders and on his wall had not been stalking but was down to his interest in astronomy.
Dar also admitted repeatedly measuring Ms Mountford’s new fence and complaining to Amber Valley Borough Council, but claimed he had done so because it was blocking the view for motorists.
Defence solicitor Denny Lau said Dar enjoys star-gazing and his interest in the fence was down to being strict or eccentric. He added: “We’re not here to decide if Mr Dar is a good neighbour. We must prove criminal liability.”
Magistrates found the accusation Dar had also stalked neighbour Daniel Renshaw between June and October, 2013, by complaining about the firefighter to his work to be not proven because only one alleged incident date was confirmed. But Derbyshire fire service concluded it was not necessary to bring action against Mr Renshaw.
Mr Renshaw told the court he underwent a “stressful time” after Dar contacted his work and made complaints.
Dar accused Mr Renshaw of threatening behaviour but no police action was taken. Dar also reported Mr Renshaw for leaving his car running after he had gone to push another driver’s car.
Mr Renshaw claimed Dar falsely complained to the fire service that he made monkey chants. The service dismissed Dar’s complaints, but difficulties in confirming alleged incident dates meant a related stalking charge against Dar could not be proven.
Dar’s case was adjourned until June 20 for sentencing.