COUNCILLOR Julie Swan has spoken out after being subjected to a campaign of harassment by her estranged husband.
Trevor Swan bombarded the Ukip councillor and prominent Pompey fan with calls, voicemails, e-mails and Facebook posts that made her end plans to stand as an MP.
Now Cllr Swan, who was a founder member of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust, is speaking out in a bid to encourage others suffering harassment to come forward to police.
The 38-year-old said she could not hide away by changing her number or e-mail due to her Fratton ward role at Portsmouth City Council.
She said: ‘He would always know where I was going to be and make reference to places he knew I was going to be.
‘I blocked his telephone number and he started calling the Ukip head office and phoning the Civic Offices.’
When I do go out I have me panic alarm out at the readyCllr Julie Swan’s victim impact statement
She added: ‘He had sent an e-mail threatening to attend my surgery – I couldn’t not attend because people needed to speak to me.’
Cllr Swan had to come up with escape plans in case he turned up to her surgery.
She even had to vary the times she would head down to Fratton Park to avoid him.
She hoped to retake an internal party selection exam to run in last week’s general election but did not do so because of the harassment.
Trevor Swan, 51, of Quinton Close, Somers Town, was hauled into court and admitted harassing Cllr Swan for two-and-a-half months.
District Judge Anne Arnold sentenced him to eight weeks in jail, suspended for a year and imposed a restraining order limiting any contact.
Swan was previously convicted of assaulting his wife by hitting her over the head with his walking stick.
Mrs Arnold said: ‘This was a campaign of harassment impacting on your wife’s role as a councillor, involving local council staff and national party officials causing your wife ongoing distress.’
Prosecutor Richard Withey told Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court that Swan had laughed when police first warned him off and not taken it seriously.
When Cllr Swan stopped taking calls he would phone the Civic Offices and leave messages with a secretary.
Mr Withey said: ‘He contacted the central Ukip party by e-mail, stated to them that he was concerned she was a racist and a member of the English Defence League.
‘She said that has caused discomfort in dealing with her superiors in the party.’
Cllr Swan said she is not a racist or in the EDL.
‘She said she feels she can’t answer calls and doesn’t know when he is gong to call her again,’ said Mr Withey.
He added that Cllr Swan said: ‘I rarely go out socialising now.’
Her impact statement added: ‘When I do go out I have me panic alarm out at the ready.’
Bill Charlton, defending, said Mr Swan had wanted the relationship to continue and alcohol played a part in the offence. He added: ‘Alcohol is a theme throughout his life.’
Swan admitted harassment without violence between December 29 last year and March 13.
Separately, Cllr Swan also told how she regularly receives letters from an unknown person criticising the work of Ukip and herself.
She has put each one on a wall in the Ukip group office ‘They’re becoming a standing joke, I hand them to other councillors to take it in turns to open now,’ she added. ‘It’s the same person.’
She has kept the letters in case police need them.
Victims urged to contact police over harassment
PEOPLE suffering from harassment should come forward and tell police.
That is the message from Cllr Julie Swan after she spoke out about how her husband harangued her. She said: ‘It’s not par for the course, lots of people break up and this doesn’t happen.’
For help, call:
- Safer Portsmouth Partnership on (023) 9268 8472.
- Aurora New Dawn – domestic abuse and sexual violence, on (023) 9247 2165.
- Children can call ChildLine on 0800 1111 or log on to childline.org.uk
- Police on 101 or 999 in emergencies.
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