Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Man Jailed over Murder and Rape Threats Sent in Letters; Neighbours, Shop Workers and a Friend Sickened by Campaign of Vile Messages

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Man Jailed over Murder and Rape Threats Sent in Letters; Neighbours, Shop Workers and a Friend Sickened by Campaign of Vile Messages

Article excerpt

Byline: GARETH LIGHTFOOT gareth.lightfoot@reachplc.com @GazetteCourt

A POISON pen letter writer who bombarded five people with vile threats is behind bars today.

Drunken Paul Hicks, 32, targeted neighbours, two shop workers and a friend with a flurry of terrifying letters giving graphic details of what he would like to do to them.

The messages left victims sickened and forced one woman out of her home after he danced naked and carried out sex acts at her door, Teesside Crown Court heard on Friday.

Prosecutor Victoria Lamballe said Hicks passed letters containing sexual references under the door of a neighbour in Saltburn.

He threatened to "rape you anywhere you are" and "keep you as my rape doll" if she did not do as he wanted and respond to the letters.

He carried on mailing the horrific correspondence in February and March this year, despite being arrested and the distraught woman going to stay with her parents.

CCTV showed him exposing himself, performing sex acts, urinating and dancing while "naked apart from a pair of socks" outside her flat, knowing he was being filmed.

She made an emotional statement in the witness box, saying she felt anxious and terrified, lost confidence and could not stop thinking about "how nasty and dirty" he was.

She said: "This has taken over my life. I keep asking myself, why me when I was so kind to him? Why was he so vile towards me?" When another neighbour asked him to turn music down, Hicks goaded him to fight and pushed 11 notes through his door.

The missives contained explicit sexual references and "clear racist undertones", the court was told.

He wrote more "extremely disturbing" signed letters to a friend saying he had stolen photos of him and his child from the friend's home for his own sexual gratification.

He talked of sexual thoughts to babies and children and referred to sexually assaulting a toddler, which police found to be pure fantasy.

Hicks also threatened to kill the neighbour's partner; claimed to have put sleeping tablets in his tea and suggested he would rape him. …

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