Hopes the public prosecutor can stop her nightmare
For 16 years Heidi Schøne has lived a continuous nightmare. She now hopes that the public prosecutor will be able to stop the man who has persecuted her since she was 18 years old.
By Ingunn Røren
Heidi Schøne, 35, from Solbergelva has been persecuted and harassed
by an Englishman for 16 years.
"During the course of these years he has sent out hundreds of letters, both about me and to me. In addition, he has telephoned me at all hours of the day for some periods," says Heidi Schøne. Since 1995 the case has been under investigation by the district sheriff's office in Nedre Eiker after Heidi reported the Englishman to the police for victimisation and harassment. The case has been fully investigated, and has now been sent to the public prosecutor's office.
"The problem is that the legislation is far too weak in cases where one is subjected to the type of harassment that I've had to live with for the last 16 years. I'm terribly tired of this, and hope now that the police and the public prosecutor will be able to stop this persecution," says Heidi Schøne.
Under Norwegian law, harassment is generally considered to be a misdemeanour and not a criminal offence. Norway has no extradition treaty with England for individuals who are charged with misdemeanours and not criminal offences.
"This case is special, however, since the harassment has continued for very many years and to such a great extent," says Toril Sorte Kjennås, police officer at the district sheriff's office in Nedre Eiker.
The decision now rests with the public prosecutor.
Heidi Schøne first met the Englishman when she was 18 and an au pair in England. She drank tea with the Englishman a couple of times, and gave him her address in Norway when she left England to return home.
"I didn't know then that the man had become completely obsessed with me, and that he would bother me for the next 16 years. Since 1982 he has sent me an average of one letter every single day, and called on countless occasions. I have begged, pleaded and cried, but he just won't leave us alone," says Heidi. In addition to the letters he has sent Heidi, the man has sent highly offensive "reports" about Heidi to her neighbours, colleagues, friends and family.
The Schøne family have moved several times and have had several unlisted telephone numbers, but the man has managed to trace the family each time.
"This puts an enormous strain on me and on the rest of my family," says Heidi, who is married and has two children.
On countless occasions she has had to explain to complete strangers why they have received reports about her.
"Our neighbours here in Solbergelva have been great and have supported us, but it naturally puts a strain on us when everyone around us is pestered with letters and telephone calls from the man," says Runar Schøne, Heidi's husband.
Recently the district sheriff's office in Nedre Eiker has begun to intercept letters that the man sends sent to Heidi.
"We have taken charge of more than 400 letters," says police officer Toril Sorte Kjennås.
"It's been a relief not to have these letters in my letter box. Of course, I know he's still sending me letters, but it's good that the police sort through our mail," says Heidi.
In recent months the man has once again sent several letters about Heidi to a number of individuals, public institutions and companies in the Drammen area. The letters have a grossly defamatory content, and contain a number of untruths about Heidi and her family. The most recent letters have been formulated so that they look like they are answers to an enquiry from Drammens Tidende, but DT-BB has never sent out such an enquiry about Heidi Schøne.
"I am tired, angry and desperate about the situation. The letters he sends to everyone have made me isolate myself more and more. I sincerely hope that the public prosecutor can find a solution so that the man can be sentenced. More than anything else I want the court to ban him from approaching me or contacting me. Perhaps then we'll finally be able to get some peace, and will not have to have a secret address and unlisted telephone number, and be frightened every time the telephone rings," says Heidi.
Last updated: 05 October 1998 08:58