Dagbladet 21 December 2005

Pursued by SEX-MAD man for 23 years

PAGES 10 AND 11

“He has kept his promise to ruin my life.” HEIDI SCHØNE (41)

SEXUALLY harassed for 23 years

23 years ago, Heidi Schøne (41) met a half-Arab Briton on a boat trip between France and England . Since then her life has been a nightmare.

Words: Morten Øverbye

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Anders Holth Johansen

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In recent days, the Briton has swamped online newspapers' blogs with malicious contributions to such an extent that the major Norwegian online newspapers have been forced to block the man's access. But threats and accusations are nothing new for Heidi Schøne. She has lived with them for the last 23 years.

“It has been a nightmare, but now I am not so scared any more. Now I am more angry at society which did not take the signs seriously early enough,” says Schøne.

The threats and the harassment have been a strain for her whole family. Today she is divorced and has two children.

“I had a small child he thought should die. In other countries, he would have been punished severely for that kind of threat,” says Schøne.

Several letters a day

The sexual harassment has continued regularly for the last 23 years.

“New letters with “Fuck You!” written on them in red were constantly coming through the letter box. The number of letters varied with his mood. I could receive three or four letter a day,” says Schøne.

In the end, the post office agreed to sort out the letters from the man. But the mad Briton could not be stopped. He got others to send letters for him and to phone. Friends and colleagues also received letters and faxes containing intimate statements.

“At times he sought me out frequently. Suddenly he could be there outside my window,” says Heidi Schøne.

The nightmare began when as an 18 year old au pair she met the half-Arab Briton on a boat trip between France and England . She was travelling with a girlfriend when she noticed the five-six years older man looking at her.

The strange man was persistent but all the same pleasant company for the two girlfriends during the trip. After the trip, they stayed in contact.

“We were never going out. But I did let him visit occasionally as time went by. I felt sorry for him so he was allowed to celebrate New Year's Eve with us,” says Schøne.

During the time in the UK , he became increasingly persistent.

“I was only 18 at the time. I did not know what I had done to him. The only thing I had done was that I did not want to marry the guy. I did not want to become a Muslim.”

Committed

She did not want to have any further contact with him when she later moved back to Norway . Then he turned up.

“He was extremely manipulative. If I didn't let him in, he created hell and pounded on the neighbours' doors. He bombarded me with telephone calls and letters the whole time. In these he told me how stupid and nasty I was,” says Schøne.

The terrorizing continued right up to 1992. His mother then arranged for him to be committed to a psychiatric hospital in the United Kingdom . When he came out again two years later, it carried on – worse than ever.

He began to send other people letters about Heidi Schøne. All translated into fluent Norwegian. Hundreds of letters were sent to everybody from Den Nationale Scene in Bergen to the local bailiff's office, neighbours, friends and acquaintances, all the letters containing intimate statements about the woman.

“He wants people to dislike me, and he can be very good at persuading people,” says Schøne.

Took legal action

In 1999, the Briton took action against Heidi Schøne for libel because she had been interviewed about the situation. That ended with the man himself having to pay NOK 10,000 for invasion of privacy.

In its judgement of 14 November 2003 , Borgarting Court of Appeal stated that “Overall, the case appears to be a misuse of the legal system”. The Court thought that there was overwhelming documentary evidence of sexual harassment and ordered the Briton to pay NOK 104,585 in costs.

Insulting web page

The man has a web page which is intended to reveal “ Norway 's exotic, erotic and extremely psychotic mentality”. The web page contains a series of gross lies about Heidi Schøne's intimate life.

The man has been ordered to delete all information about Heidi Schøne from his web pages. He has not done so.

“I am not afraid of him any more. But I don't understand why we in Norway do not take this more seriously. This is about human life after all,” says Schøne.

Captions:

INTERNET HARASSMENT: On this web site, the Briton carries on harassment of Heidi Schøne (inset). In spite of the fact that he was ordered to remove the web pages in 2003, they are still on the Internet.

NIGHTMARE: Since Heidi Schøne (41) met the Briton 23 years ago, he has been obsessed with her and has sent hundreds of letters with intimate statements about the woman, both to her and to those around her.

“He wants people to dislike me, and he can be very good at persuading people.”

Heidi Schøne (41), persecuted.

Investigator was also harassed

Police inspector Torill Sorte of Nedre Romerike police district was the investigator in the case against the Briton. Then she herself was harassed.

“It finally ended with me having to ask to be taken off the case, because I myself wanted to report the man,” says Sorte.

“There were faxes and e-mails which said I was mad and that I am a liar. It was quiet for a while but he has started again in recent weeks,” says Sorte.

The man has today been ordered to stay away from the police inspector.