Harassed and persecuted - case put on hold
A decision has been taken: The police are to step down their efforts to apprehend an Englishman who over a period of 16 years is alleged to have harassed and persecuted Heidi Schøne (35) from Solbergelva.
By Morten Wold
"Of course we're disappointed," says Runar Schøne, Ms Schøne's husband, to DT-BB. Dag Einar Lyngås, police superintendant at Drammen Police Force, can only apologise that the police find they are unable to continue to employ the resources necessary to apprehend the Englishman. Since 1982 he has harassed, persecuted and spread untruths about Heidi Schøne in the form of letters and telephone calls to her relations, friends, employers, and to newspapers in Norway.
A disappointed family
"The case will be put on hold and will be under periodical observation," says Mr Lyngås to DT-BB.
He stresses that the case has not been closed, but that the police will follow developments to see whether the harassment continues.
Runar Schøne says the police decision is disappointing and that this means the family will have to continue living in a virtual "exile".
"We have a secret address and an unlisted telephone number, which we have had to change several times. We haven't done anything wrong, but are being punished with a poorer quality of life as a result of this man's activities, while he goes free and can do whatever he wants," says Mr Schøne.
Heidi Schøne's nightmare began in 1982, when she met the Englishman while working as an au pair in England. He allegedly became obsessed with her and has since then sent her letters almost every day and managed to trace her address and telephone number - even though she has moved and obtained an unlisted telephone number several times.
Things became so bad that the district police force in Nedre Eiker now sort her post in order to stop any letters that may be from the man. More than 400 letters have been stopped and stored by the district police force - to shield Heidi Schøne and her family.
The case has been under investigation since 1995 and was sent to the public prosecutor some time ago. Heidi Schøne hoped then that this would lead to the man's conviction.
The public prosecuting authority has encountered problems in dealing with this matter, however, and will have difficulty in remanding the man in custody since he has been charged pursuant to section 390A of the Norwegian General Civil Penal Code, which carries a maximum sentence of six months' imprisonment. In order to be held on remand, a minimum sentence of more than six months is required plus the danger of repetition of the offence.
"There is most certainly a danger of repetition here, but at present the conditions have not met," says Dag Einar Lyngås to DT-BB.
This means that the police will now remain relatively passive, but will arrest the man if it is brought to their attention that he is coming to Norway.
Last updated: 08 December 1998 22:11