How menacing letters from neighbour put a Norwich family in fear
11:25 22 January 2014
A mother of four has told how she feared for the safety of her family when a neighbour sent her menacing letters containing white powder.
Terrified Norwich mum Paula Ahmed said one of the notes to her had the word “die” on it, while another note to her husband, Koyes Ahmed, had “get out” on it.
Yesterday, the Evening News told how Sadie Lake, 39, was jailed for 20 months for the terror campaign that included a hoax bomb threat to the Norfolk Police headquarters at Wymondham and a message to Crimestoppers, saying there would be someone with explosives in Prince of Wales Road.
Norwich Crown Court heard Lake was trying to terrify the Ahmed family into moving out of their home on Motum Road.
Lake previously admitted communicating false information with intent and sending a noxious substance and was also made the subject of an 18-month restraining order, prohibiting her from making contact with her neighbour.
Speaking in the wake of the court case, Mrs Ahmed, 35, said that two of the three letters she received from Lake were addressed to her and one to her husband, 43.
She said: “It was shocking, really, to receive those letters. They came out of the blue. I was worried for my two younger children who were with me when the post arrived – the older children were at school. The letters had post-it notes inside them threatening and warning us. One sent to me had the word ‘die’ on it, another note to my husband had ‘get out’ on it.”
“I don’t know what she meant by that, maybe for us to leave the house or for him to leave me.
“They had white powder inside in see through plastic bags. I did not know what it was. Each time I received a letter we called the police. The police told us not to touch the powder. After the third letter, they stopped. The powder turned out to be cornflour.”
She said she had hardly spoken to Lake before and, while they had not exactly been friendly, she had no idea why her family was targeted. She welcomed Lake’s 20-month jail sentence and added: “I’m glad it’s all over. She needs to be punished for what she did. I had not done anything to her.”
Mrs Ahmed added: “Hopefully, her time in jail will give her time to think about what she did and when she comes out she will keep to the restraining order. I don’t want any more trouble from her. But I’m not sure she will, as she seems to do what she wants.”
A Norfolk Police spokesman said: “The activity undertaken by Lake was not just highly irresponsible and disruptive but also wasted the time of police officers called to investigate. This prosecution and conviction should serve as a reminder that making such hoaxes is a serious criminal offence which will be investigated and this is reflected in the sentence handed down.”
Judge Peter Jacobs said Norwich City Council should be asked if there was any chance to get a house move for Lake on her release from prison.
Following the hearing, a spokesman for the city council said: “The council takes all acts of anti-social behaviour extremely seriously. Any resident wishing to be re-housed would need to be assessed under our Home Options Scheme.
“But when a tenant’s behaviour has been proved to be unacceptable they wouldn’t be eligible for social housing and wouldn’t simply be able to transfer to another property.”