Woman banned from speaking to Irish neighbors after 14-year campaign of racist abuse
Racially aggravated harassment causes Irish family to fear for their safety in London
A 63-year-old woman has been banned from speaking to her neighbors after a 14-year campaign of racist harassment.
Veronica and James Hagans told the Southwark Crown Court in London that their neighbor called the couple “f****in stupid Irish.” Denise Godefroid told the Hagans family to go back to Ireland and on one occasion screamed at them to keep “those bloody Irish children” quiet.
Veronica Hagans has been so badly affected by Godefroid’s abuse that she is too afraid to leave the family’s flat in Pimlico on her own, even to bring out the garbage, the Daily Mail reports.
The prosecuting lawyer James Fletcher told the court the Hagans had moved in next door to Godefroid in 1997.
He said, “Since they moved in, over that period there have been a number of antisocial and nuisance type behaviors from the defendant towards Mrs Hagans and her husband.
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“This included the defendant knocking loudly on wall in the early hours of the morning, at 3am, and singing or making whale noises, peering into their bedroom from an adjoining balcony and being verbally abusive.
“On at least two occasions the Crown has advanced evidence the harassment was racially aggravated.
“Mrs Hagans is Irish and on one occasion the defendant made comments such as, 'You f****** stupid Irish. What did you come here for? Why are you in this country?
“On another occasion the defendant started swearing at Mr and Mrs Hagans' grandchildren saying 'Those bloody Irish children. Keep those f****** children quiet and get back to Ireland you f****** Irish.
“Mrs Hagan has been badly affected by the behavior to the point that she felt that she could not leave the flat on her own, even to go out in the corridor to put the rubbish out.”
Judge Stephen Robbins issued Godefroid with an indefinite restraining order. This prevents the abusive neighbor from contact with the Hagans. She was also given a community order and a six-month curfew, between 9pm and 7am.
In June 2011 Godefroid admitted to racially aggravated harassment. On Monday she also admitted to racially aggravated harassment putting another in fear of violence.
Read More: Ireland ranked as one of the top ten countries in the “Better Life Index”
Godefroid’s lawyer Lance Murray said his client has been diagnosed as suffering with a mixed personality disorder, agoraphobia, dementia and panic attacks, among other issues, had pleaded guilty because she “if she proceeded with a trial it would kill her.”
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