A 74-year-old woman who harassed a hospital chief executive and turned up at a doctor’s house with a meat hammer has been jailed for four weeks.
Margaret Harvey, of Milford Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, admitted harassing University Hospitals of North Staffordshire chief executive Julia Bridgewater by repeatedly calling her late at night.
District Judge David Taylor, sitting at North Staffordshire Magistrates’ Court, heard Harvey blamed the hospital for the death of her husband Graham in 2004.
She used a private detective to discover Ms Bridgewater’s home telephone number and began repeatedly calling her, often late at night.
She also turned up at the Cornish home of retired medic John Davis, who had treated her husband, armed with a meat tenderising hammer in 2010.
Ms Bridgewater, who was chief operating officer at the time of Mr Harvey’s death, contacted police and had a panic alarm installed at her home but the calls continued.
Harvey was sent to the cells after refusing to listen to the judge during a hearing on 5 September.
Once she was brought back to court he told her: “I was prepared to give you a suspended sentence, but from your conduct in court I see that would be completely unworkable.
“I have never had more regret in sentencing someone to a custodial sentence.”
He added: “I recognise that your motivation was to seek answers over what you see as wrongs relating to the death of your husband.
“But that right to protest is subject to the rule of law, no matter what we may feel about injustice.
“You deliberately chose your target Julia Bridgewater, and as you confirmed in your police interview, you intended to cause her harassment and maximum distress. Your actions have been deliberate, repeated and well thought out.”
Harvey was also given an indefinite restraining order barring her from contacting Ms Bridgewater or Dr Davis.
The University Hospital of North Staffordshire declined to comment.
Information supplied to HSJ