Former coffee shop owner leaves sex toy in car in protest outside rival village cafe
- Credit: Archant
A bitter dispute between a former coffee shop owner and villagers linked to a rival neighbouring café has come to an extraordinary end in court.
Kerry Radley stood trial in Norwich yesterday after staging an unusual protest outside the Prima Rosa café in Salhouse in May last year.
The 46-year-old parked a Nissan 4x4 in front of the premises at Lower Street and left various explicit items – including a purple sex toy – on display inside.
It was the latest dispute to have erupted in the village between Radley, who once owned the neighbouring Radley's coffee shop, and the owners of Prima Rosa.
The cafés had a heated two-year battle for trade, which at one point saw Radley banned from staring inside Prima Rosa by Broadland District Council, in an order which was later withdrawn.
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The dispute appeared to come to an end in September 2017 when Radley's closed its doors.
But yesterday magistrate Val Khambatta said the village of Salhouse was 'not coming out of this [case] very well'.
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Norwich Magistrates' Court heard how Judith Nudd, who owns Prima Rosa, was left 'sobbing and in tears' when she saw what Radley had left in the vehicle on May 22.
Another customer said her two young children also saw the items a day later, with one asking why there was a 'purple cucumber' on the back seat.
Giving evidence via videolink, Mrs Nudd said the incident made her feel 'awful'.
She said: 'This has been going on for so long now, it is total harassment. All I have ever wanted was to be left alone.'
Prima Rosa customer Josephine Allen said she also saw the items on the same day.
She said: 'The car was about two or three feet away from the shop window. I noticed inside the car was a purple sex toy on the back seat. There was also a card with swear words on it.
'On the front passenger seat was an opened copy of the Daily Star showing a topless woman.'
She said Mrs Nudd was 'utterly distraught' when she saw her that morning.
'She was sobbing and shaking. I was pretty shocked, because it's not the every day thing you would see in a tiny rural village in the back seat of a car.'
Another customer who gave evidence said she visited the café on May 23 with her two young children.
She said her children were walking ahead and looked in the car before entering the café.
Giving evidence, she said: 'They asked 'what is that purple cucumber?'
'They focused on the back seats which had a very large purple sex toy and a card they were reading which had [a rude word] on it.'
Yoga teacher Radley was found guilty of using threatening or abusive behaviour to cause Mrs Nudd harassment or distress, but cleared of two other charges relating to two café customers.
She was caught on CCTV parking the vehicle outside the premises.
The court heard how there had been 'considerable enmity' between Radley and others in Salhouse, including Mrs Nudd and Mrs Allen.
Ian Fisher, for Radley, asked her if it was linked to her owning an adjoining business premises, to which she replied 'yes'.
Giving evidence, Radley said she parked the car outside the café after receiving abuse from a 'handful' of people who left her threatening phone calls.
She told the court it had been a 'protest', but claimed she did not mean to cause any offence.
'It was just that I had received so much online abuse,' she said. 'I didn't mean to cause any offence to anyone.'
Radley had left two notes on the car's dashboard – one reading 'OTT' and another claiming she will only move the vehicle once the Nudds 'and their friends' stop harassing her.
Aside from the notes, she said the other items could not be seen unless someone looked inside the vehicle.
When asked about the sex toy and explicit card, she added: 'The items had been in a bag. They were a joke present for a friend.'
She claimed they had fallen out of the bag on the back seat.
Radley, of Vicarage Road, Salhouse, denied three counts of using threatening and abusive behaviour to cause harassment and distress on May 22 and May 23 last year.
Magistrates cleared her of the two charges relating to Mrs Allen and another customer.
Sentencing, chair of the bench Val Khambatta said: 'The village of Salhouse is not coming out of this very well.
'I think there is provocation on both sides. I think it has to stop and we don't want to see any side back in court.
'You [Radley] need to take this on board. What you did was not very sensible.
'The other side needs to take on board how things get out of hand very quickly.'
Radley was fined £180, ordered to pay £250 in costs and a £30 victim surcharge.
Speaking after the case, Radley said she intended to appeal the conviction.
The history of the dispute
Radley's first opened in the village in August 2014, with Prima Rosa quickly following in May 2015.
What began as a battle for trade became heated, with both owners accusing the other of intimidating and abusive behaviour, with flyers stolen and signs defaced.
In December 2017, Radley was told she had been banned from looking at Prima Rosa under a Community Protection Notice (CPN) after complaints were made to Broadland District Council claiming she had caused the café's owners anxiety.
It stopped her from looking into the café from a vehicle, moving or stationary, entering the café or taking photographs of it, or customers, without permission.
But Radley appealed the CPN – which was handed out after an initial warning from the district council in June – saying she was the victim and that she had been subject to online abuse and fake negative reviews.
In January 2018, ahead of the planned appeal date in February, the council dropped the CPN and paid more than £1,200 in court costs to Radley.