Homeless man jailed for ‘frightening’ harassment of Gosport councillor

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  • Homeless man has been jailed for 22 weeks for harassing Gosport councillor
  • Peter MacDonald, 51, met Cllr Susan Ballard through her place of work
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A HOMELESS man’s harassment of a councillor ‘was extremely frightening’, a court heard.

Gosport borough councillor Susan Ballard was harassed for three weeks by former builder Peter MacDonald earlier this summer, in which he terrorised her while she worked at the Avalon Centre in Fareham.

Ms Ballard found his behaviour extremely frightening. She did not like going to work knowing he may be there.

Richard Withey, prosecuting

MacDonald, 51, was jailed for 22 weeks at Portsmouth Magistrates Court last Friday after pleading guilty to the harassment and various other offences.

The court heard how MacDonald, who has been homeless for the last five years, met Cllr Ballard at the centre and decided to ‘campaign against her.’

Richard Withey, prosecuting said: ‘Mr MacDonald spat on her car and was verbally abusive towards her leading to Ms Ballard to find the whole situation very unsettling.’

A notable incident of the harassment occurred when MacDonald, who has Hepatitis C, cut his foot and stained a room with his blood that he knew Cllr Ballard would have to clean up at Two Saints hostel where Cllr Ballard helped out.

Mr Withey continued: ‘Ms Ballard found his behaviour extremely frightening. She did not like going to work knowing he may be there.’

MacDonald was involved in a serious incident at work back in 2002 on a building site in which he damaged the vertebrae in his spine leaving him unable to carry out his job.

MacDonald began taking heroin following the accident.

Rhys Evans, defending, said: ‘He is a grown man that unfortunately suffers from seriously poor health.

‘The last five years have been very hard on him and he turned to heroin to ease the pain of his condition.’

MacDonald had been offered a bed at the hostel in Gosport Road to get him off the streets, however, he then lost the bed after spending most of his evenings smoking outside the building.

Mr Evans continued: ‘I’m not trying to excuse his behaviour but he has found himself in a desperate situation and his life has been extremely difficult after what happened on that building site.’

In addition to his 22-week jail sentence, MacDonald was also given a criminal behaviour order for two years to stop him entering West Street in Fareham and parts of Gosport Road as well as a two-year restraining order from Councillor Ballard.

His other offences that were taken concurrently with the jail sentence was the criminal damage at the hostel, a public disorder in Key Street, Fareham, criminal damage at Waterlooville Police Station, theft of alcohol worth £6.77 from Savers Store in Thackery Square in Fareham, theft of milk and coffee from the Iceland store in Fareham.

He also caused criminal damage at Portsmouth police station in which he defecated in a police cell.