When a stranger started harassing and stalking my son, the police believed the woman's accusations leading to months of torment and considerable financial cost to my son.
About 6 years ago my eldest son was seriously harassed and accused of sexual misdemeanors by an obsessive female neighbour.
He was totally unaware of her existence until she suddenly pushed her way into his house. She then harassed and stalked him and went to the police with wild, unsubstantiated accusations which they immediately believed. What followed was a period of five diabolical months dealing with police, lawyers, and the woman herself, at considerable cost to us.
My polite, well-mannered son had recently returned from a five-year stint in Europe. He worked there for a prominent international company that promoted him to a challenging position back in Sydney. He was renting in an upmarket inner suburb that featured rows of single-fronted, double-storey terrace houses. Out front was a high solid fence enclosing a densely planted garden.
Early one morning my son, running a bit late for work, hurried out his front door. As he turned around to shut the door and put his key in the lock, he was suddenly abruptly pushed aside by a youngish woman who opened the door and went straight inside his entrance hallway.
In retelling this event, my son said he believes she must have been previously covertly watching his daily movements, planning, waiting, and concealing herself inside the rather dense bushy garden in the front corner of the house.
He immediately thought she was a drug addict and could well be carrying a weapon, so he flew inside after her, grabbed her by the shoulders shouting at her to, “Get out of my house”. He physically pushed and dragged her back out the front door. She strongly resisted, clawing at him. My son is tall, well-built and strong. He works out regularly at a local gym.
As he was removing her from the house, he realised as she struggled she was loudly raving, “I love you, I want you”, repetitively. She continued such yelling as he pushed her out the gate onto the footpath.
She then screamed that she would go to the police and tell them he had sexually assaulted her. He slammed & locked the gate, and the front door between them. Quite shaken, he made a coffee and sat for a while to contemplate the matter. He decided to wait, and then when certain she had disappeared, leave home and call in the police station to report the incident. Which he did.
Next morning he was careful to check through the front window that she was not in his garden before leaving the house. But when he reached his car there she was, leaning against the adjacent fence. She started towards him but he speedily drove off. This became a daily pattern, morning and late afternoon, for a fortnight until he again returned to the police station.
He showed the police a photo on his phone of her approaching his car. This was when he discovered the shocking news that she had already been to the police station. And she knew his name. We suspect she had learned this fact by raiding his letterbox or talking to a neighbour. The police officer warned my son to “curb his behaviour” or he could well be facing serious charges.
Her dreadful behaviour persisted with variations, including weekends when he left at different times to meet friends at the cricket or for a drink. She stood daily for hours, waiting for him to leave and return from work, trying to touch him and continuing to accuse him loudly of improper behaviour.
She would stand outside his now locked gate, across the road, at his car no matter where it was parked, attempting to touch him, yelling loudly, screaming he had assaulted her, calling for help, “Help me my husband is hitting me”, and the like. If she actually missed a day or morning or early evening my son became increasingly nervous, fearful she would turn up at his office or that she may have scaled his high fence to again hide in the garden.
Worn out after more than two months of this harassment plus the fear of her accumulation of lies to the police, my son enlisted the help of a woman friend and located exactly where this woman lived. He had visited the local police station on numerous occasions, and although cautiously aware of the “warning”, he was now able to supply her address.
One of the younger officers responded by asking, “Is she a looker?” But the police also told him that nearby residents had reported her screaming in the street, allegedly attempting to ward off her attacking “husband”.
My son at long last shared this awful series of events with me and I immediately employed a reputable legal firm as the police had strongly intimated that my son may well be charged with assault.
This aggressive predatory woman was eventually revealed as long having a psychiatric condition, with an established history of associated bizarre behaviour. This had led already to numerous intervention orders and convictions (community service) for similar staging of faked assaults plus stalking behaviour towards other unsuspecting men.
She and her long-suffering shift-worker husband had been moving from suburb to suburb following these predatory incidents. Eventually, following our expensive legal intervention, her own husband was coerced to confirm her history with the police. It seems that only then did the police seriously check to see if this woman had a record.
This absolutely dreadful experience had an exhausting and detrimental effect on my son, impacting his new work position for nearly five months. Engaging the right legal firm brought about a positive resolution to end this horrible situation but left a considerable hole in our pockets.
I was stunned at how the police just presumed my son to be the guilty perpetrator in this bizarre series of events, and likewise their immediate presumption was that this physically attractive young woman was the victim.
Read more stories from mothers of sons who have faced injustice here