Woman's 'creepy stalker' caught trying to remove secret listening devices he planted in her house
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A woman has explained how she caught her 'creepy stalker' neighbour trying to remove secret listening devices that he had planted around her house.
Debbie Wearing-Jones, 64, had trusted her neighbours with a key to her home in Birmingham, so they could get in to feed her two pet cats while she was away, but unfortunately, it was being used for something far more sinister.
The grandmother-of-one was horrified when she discovered a hidden voice recorder taped under her coffee table and behind the headboard of her bed, and decided to set up a web cam in her own house to find out who was behind it. Here's what she saw:
When she first discovered the recording device, Debbie assumed it might have been one of her grandson's toys but after an internet search, she soon realised it was spyware, leaving her feeling 'totally violated'.
After discovering that the offender would have to return to collect their recording device, Debbie hatched a plan to catch the perpetrator, who happened to be her neighbour William Nolan, 59.
''I really didn't think Bill or his wife would do something like that, but I needed to know for sure," she said.
After setting up her hidden web cams, Debbie told William's wife that she would be away from Thursday afternoon until Friday morning. Just half an hour later, Debbie watched her neighbour enter her home and frantically search for the recording devices he had planted - all through the web cam she had set up.
When she had her evidence, Debbie called her son to help confront the neighbour, but he insisted had no idea what she was talking about.
She was then left with no choice but to call the police and submit her evidence.
William eventually admitted to stalking without fear, alarm or distress and was jailed for 15 weeks at Birmingham Magistrates' Court.
Debbie, who is now speaking out about the harrowing experience to raise awareness, recalled: "I felt totally violated - Bill's trade is CCTV and security and things like that so that was also worrying.
''To this day I worry thinking: 'was there anything else planted?' I still don't know whether there is.
"I felt uncomfortable putting my underwear out in the garden, just the thought of him watching.
"For me, for somebody to put a recording device on your headboard, there's only one reason why they want to do that and that's a sexual reason - something only a perv would do."
In the past, Debbie would never have suspected anything of her neighbours, explaining: ''I'd actually always thought myself lucky to have him as a neighbour.
''It felt good having long term friendly neighbours who I could trust. It meant a lot to me having that support network after being widowed."
Judge David Wain described the case as one of the most serious 'stalking' offences he had ever seen, and blasted the CPS for its choice of charge, saying the decision severely constrained his sentencing powers.
Because of the charge, the maximum sentence the judge could impose was 26 weeks, though this was reduced to 15 weeks due to Nolan's guilty plea.
Debbie's neighbour was also ordered to pay £300 compensation and is banned from contacting her under an indefinite restraining order.
Of the reduced sentence, Debbie said: "I was disappointed but very happy that he’s been sent down for such a sick act."
She added: ''These days I ask my niece to feed my cats, if I've learnt anything, it's that you just don't know who you can trust. It's always better to play it safe.''