Pensioner terrorised in own home

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A pensioner was terrorised in his own home by a complete stranger who started wrecking his property and threatening to kill him, a court heard.

Burnley magistrates were told how 86-year-old Derek Wood, who lives in Read, was in bed at 8am when Claire McKenna turned up and started causing serious damage to his windows, hurling abuse, smashing plant pots and accusing him of ruining her life. She also threw a smashed garden ornament at the victim, which just missed his head.

McKenna (50) who had a dog with her, then got into a car and drove off. The victim noted her registration number.

The hearing was told McKenna, who is from Blackpool, suffers from bi-polar disorder and was very unwell at the time. She hadn’t a clue what she was doing in Read and at one point during her illness had even ended up in London.

McKenna has recently been in and out of hospital and was brought to the court by her social worker. The defendant, of Gorton Street, Blackpool, admitted using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour and criminal damage to house windows and garden ornaments belonging to Mr Wood, both on February 6th. She was given a 12-month conditional discharge by the Bench, who said the victim was vulnerable.

The defendant, who receives employment and support allowance, must also pay £100 compensation and a £15 victim surcharge. She had no previous convictions.

Prosecutor Alex Mann said Mr Wood did not know McKenna and seemed to have been targeted randomly.

He heard banging on the windows whilst he was in bed. He saw a woman on the driveway who was shouting abuse and swearing. She damaged some plant pots and was banging a stone on the window and yelling: “I’m going to f****** kill you.”

Miss Mann continued: “He says he was frightened by the actions. He really thought she was going to hurt him. He said: “She had a bottle in her hand at the time. She approached me with it and said she was going to kill me. The whole conversation was about killing me.”

The prosecutor said the victim had had sympathy and support from family and friends since his ordeal. She added: “There doesn’t seem to be any reason for him to have been targeted.”

Miss Helen Oates (defendant) described the incident as “very mysterious”. She said the defendant admitted in interview she went to scare the person who was at the house.

The solicitor continued: “This lady is not well, wasn’t well at the time, is still under the care of a psychiatrist in Blackpool and has been brought today by her social worker.”

Miss Oates said the defendant had bi-polar disorder and the last six months had been the worst time of the condition, which she had had since her early teens. She had been admitted to hospital four times, had been kept in under the Mental Health Act and had been detained walking down the M65.

McKenna’s social worker Charlotte Thomas said the defendant had been really unwell for six months. She had been confused and had had delusional thoughts about the end of the world and being part of something much bigger.

The social worker continued: “She has got herself into situations she wouldn’t normally get into. She’s been found shouting in the street, which isn’t her character at all.”