Woman who harassed hospital boss after death of her husband is jailed
A 74-YEAR-OLD who bombarded a hospital chief executive with late-night phone calls over her husband’s death has been jailed.
Margaret Harvey is today starting a four-week prison sentence after admitting harassing University Hospital of North Staffordshire’s chief executive Julia Bridgewater.
District Judge David Taylor had intended to hand Harvey a suspended prison sentence when she appeared at North Staffordshire Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
But the pensioner was sent to the cells after refusing to listen to the judge and was later brought back into court to learn her fate.
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Judge Taylor 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, of Beaumaris Court, Milford Road, Newcastle, blames the University Hospital for the death of her husband Graham in 2004.
She hired a private detective to find Mrs Bridgewater’s home telephone number and repeatedly called her.
This was despite the fact that Mrs Bridgewater was not working at the hospital at the time of Mr Harvey’s fatal heart attack.
Mrs Bridgewater contacted police and had a panic alarm installed at her Newcastle house, but the calls continued.
Harvey, who represented herself yesterday, said: “I think to be honest I would be better going to prison.”
Harvey has also been handed an indefinite restraining order barring her from contacting Mrs Bridgewater or going near her home. She is also banned from contacting retired medic Dr John Davis, who had treated her husband.
Harvey had previously been issued with a restraining order relating to Dr Davis after she had travelled to his home in Cornwall armed with a meat tenderising hammer in 2010.
Mrs Bridgewater declined to comment on the case.