On February 18th 2016, I attended Clough Road police station in Hull, for an arranged voluntary interview. Probably naive of me, but I assumed a voluntary interview would be like just a chat in an office, but no, it's exactly the same as a criminal interview but without the need to arrest and cuff you. I was asked if I wanted a solicitor. Why would I need a solicitor? I thought this was just a chance to put my side.
"No im alright" I replied, slightly confused and now panicking. Did I need a solicitor?
I was led into a police interview room by 2 Plain clothes officers, and they went through the process of setting up a formal interview, unwrapping fresh cassette tapes, loading both into the slots in the recorder.
Maybe I should have got a solicitor?
"You ready?" One asked, fingers poised on the record buttons.
"Go for it" I tried to stay calm. I really should have spoken to a solicitor.
We all sat awkwardly, waiting for the high pitched beep to stop, before they began:
"This is a recorded interview, the date is...., present are..."
I gave my name when prompted. I was then read my rights.
"You have the right to remain silent, but anything you do say..."
What the fuck was going on? Had I just been conned into handing myself in?
"Am I under arrest?" I asked.
"No, you're free to leave at any time"
I pushed my chair back.
"However, we do need to talk to you about allegations that have been made. If you don't cooperate, we may have to take further action"
Great. So I'm here voluntarily but I can't leave or you'll arrest me. I slouched back in the chair and scowled.
"Go on then"
They then pulled out a stack, and I mean a STACK, of print outs from a folder. As these pages were being thumbed through, I looked over. Every page was a screenshot, blown up, of my Facebook posts. From both accounts. I'd set up another Facebook in the name Harley Quinn a while ago, and was running 2 accounts, and there was posts from both accounts.
They wanted to know my 'intentions'.
What the fuck are you talking about? What intentions?
Mrs Lane had reported feeling alarmed harassed and distressed by my posts, was it my intention to threaten the Lane's?
At this point, I really started thinking this was The Truman Show, or if you're old enough to remember, Beadles About. I was expecting Jeremy Beadle or some similar hidden camera show to jump out with a mic shouting "GOT YA!"
But that obviously didn't happen.
"Mrs Lane" I spat out, "is blocked from my Facebook. So how am I threatening her?"
They started thumbing through the sheets of paper. Wow, they literally had just about every single post I'd ever posted! The vast majority of which, was nothing to do with Mrs Lane. The woman was obsessed!
"What about this post? What did you mean by this?"
They pushed towards me a picture of a toy air rifle, like a bb gun, my nephew had purchased last year from Fantasy Island. While on a visit in Nottingham he showed me the gun, and amazed at how realistic it was, I posted a picture on my Facebook with the caption 'toy'.
I snorted at the memory. Is this woman for real? Her man is an armed copper, shooting metal bolts into our fence with a massive crossbow scaring my autistic son out of his wits, but she's scared of a picture of my nephews bb gun?
They pulled out a few more posts, but I was done being cooperative. This was a joke right? This woman is stalking my Facebook and then crying harassment when reading posts that had nothing to do with her!
I ended the interview and got out of there. That wasn't what I expected at all, and I was done cooperating with Humberside police. What an absolute joke.
As we prepared for our next tenancy inspection, I couldn't keep my temper. So she's stalking my Facebook is she? I hope they all are, I'll tell them what's going off.
The tenancy inspection was a resounding success and it gave me a much needed boost. The letting agent was impressed with our efforts, the painting was great and we'd been keeping the carpets in good order. We spoke about the neighbours still making false reports about us, and I disclosed that I'd just been interviewed after next door stalked my Facebook and decided everything I post is aimed at her and threatening! The more I told people, the more ridiculous it sounded. Like everybody else, he responded "why doesn't she just stop looking?"
Seemed the only people that didn't understand that concept, apart from the stalker herself, was Humberside police.
He assured me they'd heard nothing recently after the flurry of anonymous complaints the year previously, and they were happy with me. The kids were so glad all our efforts had paid off. Fuck the neighbours, everyone else likes us, the letting agent is happy with us, this is our home. Let them leave if they don't like it, we were here first, and we were staying.
As we moved towards Easter, I bribed my eldest son T, to come visit. He was distancing himself from us and I kind of understood why. I was being targeted, he was doing a law degree, for future prospects it made sense to sever the link between us. He had a career to think about. But his brothers really missed him, so I begged him to visit. Things were always calmer with the neighbours when T was around.
Easter over, T returned to uni, and, the police turn up. Again. They'd like to interview me again. Someone had sent a card through the post to number 8 which was offensive, and Jackie Lane had suggested the police ask me about it.
In interview, I was shown photocopies of the card. It was like a birthday card, the front picture being a teen on a BMX bike. On the inside, there was what appeared to be words cut out from newspapers and magazines, constructing the message inside. I laughed. It was accusing the guy of being a paedophile. Not just me that thinks it then, I thought. I was still smiling, highly amused.
The police tried to intimidate me into stopping smiling, "this isn't a joke"
"Oh it is! It really is!" I laughed again "do you think I sent that? Cut out words from papers like that?" It was laughable.
I recognised the writing on the envelope straight away.
"I've got 2 letters at home with that handwriting on. You lot wasn't interested when I was getting anonymous threatening letters. Am I supposed to have sent myself these letters before I sent this card?"
Despite their desperation to keep things formal, I laughed at everything they said. Set up. As plain as fuckin day. I'm being fitted up.
Then, in an effort to shock me, he announced, like he had just solved crime of the century, that they'd lifted a fingerprint from the card.
Excellent, I thought, that'll instantly rule me out.
"Are you happy to give your prints for comparison?"
Laughing again, I readily agreed.
"Come on then, let's get this over with, so you lot can look like the stupid mugs you clearly are. I hope you're going to take Mrs Lane's prints when mine don't match. I think you should talk to her about this card, and the letters I got. Gonna take Mrs Lane's prints are you?"
I don't think the police got the response from me they were expecting. I think they really thought I'd sent this card. My laughter, and eagerness to give my prints, unsettled the whole situation. They suggested I attend Withernsea police station to give my prints. Ok, I said, I'll get there soon as I can. I don't think they expected me to actually attend.
3 months into 2016, and I was again attending police stations, proving my innocence, against yet more malicious allegations. This whole situation was escalating, and I didn't like where it was going.
Stock photo of how the card looked inside... (not the actual card)