March 8 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, September 1, 2012
A woman fixated with a vicar who she bombarded with letters, cards and gifts after he conducted her mother’s funeral has been banned from contacting him.
Maureen Peace, 50, pictured, appeared at Norwich Magistrates’ Court yesterday to be sentenced after previously pleading guilty to harassment without violence between July 1, 2010 and June 2, 2012.
The court heard the Rev Keith Rengert, who has been appointed as Spixworth’s new rector but at the time was working in North Walsham, first came into contact with Peace after her mother became ill and later died.
Anna Crayford, prosecuting, said the phone calls and letters started after a meeting between Rev Rengert and Peace, of Park Court, North Walsham, about the funeral arrangements.
Miss Crayford said the first letter stated: “I would like to know you better, not like that!” The Rev Rengert was concerned about the “over familiarity” of the communication received, which referred to him by the first name.
One of the letters he received was hand delivered. After that, phone calls were received to his home number and he was also asked to “cleanse the house and come and see her”.
There was also an answer phone message left on his phone at 10.30pm while his wife received a birthday card in October 2011. The court heard there was another occasion Peace turned up and gave Rev Rengert flowers, which “really bothered him” as he felt vulnerable and that his privacy had been breached.
There was further correspondence, including material containing “sexual innuendo”, prompting Rev Rengert to write to her to ask her to stop, the court heard.
Peace did stop for a while, but the communication started again and in November 2011 she was was issued with a Police Information notice to stop harassing him.
But on Valentine’s Day in 2012, Rev Rengert received four cards, including one declaring Peace’s love for him.
It referred to him as the “love of my life” and also stated: “I will be your sweetheart if you will be mine, love from M.”
Michael Cole, mitigating, said he saw no point in imposing a restraining order as it would be “setting her up to fail”.
He said “rehabilitation” rather than “punishment” was advisable and endorsed her being monitored by mental health professionals under a community order with mental health treatment requirement.
Mr Cole said it would be the “most effective way of assisting her to contain her behaviour towards Reverend Rengert”.
Robert Price, chairman of the bench at Norwich Magistrates’ Court, imposed a community order over 12 months with a mental health treatment requirement to be undertaken by the probation service.
Mr Price, who said the court had an obligation to Rev Rengert whose quality of life he said needed to be “preserved”, also made Peace the subject of a restraining order prohibiting her from contacting him.
She is also not allowed to attend a place of worship at which Reverend Rengert is officiating or taking part in the ceremony.
There was no order for costs.