Landlord accused of racial harassment

Court report

Court report

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A Mildenhall property owner allegedly harassed her tenants because they were Americans, a court has heard.

Rosemary Hill, 74, is accused of sending a string of emails and letters to the couple as well as to senior military figures at RAF Mildenhall detailing what she claimed were problems she was facing.

The prosecution have told a jury at Ipswich Crown Court that Hill, of Field Road, Mildenhall, may have also been trying to hound the family out of the house she owned because she had other potential tenants willing to pay a higher rent lined up.

Hill denies the allegations and has pleaded not guilty to a charge of racially aggravated harassment.

The offence, involving American couple Terri and Duane Scott, is alleged to have been committed by Hill between October 2012 and June 2013.

Mrs Scott is due to give evidence to the jury via a video link from the McChord Air Base in Washington State, USA where there is an eight hour time difference with Britain. Her husband is a serving sergeant with the US Air Force at RAF Mildenhall.

As the trial opened on Wednesday, the court heard claims that Hill, a child psychologist, had initially been involved in an exchange of emails with Mr and Mrs Scott over defects they believed existed with the house they were renting from her in Long Road, Feltwell.

Prosecuting, Philip Farr said emails and letters sent by Hill became increasingly ‘vitriolic and personal’, suggesting that the couple were not looking after the house properly and making comments about the behaviour of their children.

In others which were copied to Sgt Scott’s superior officers, Hill said that Americans could not ‘come into my country, wreck houses and leave without something happening to them’, said Mr Farr.

A letter which appeared to have been prepared to be sent to the media and found on Hill’s computer when she was arrested claimed that US personnel in Britain were defiling cemeteries, cutting the throats of innocent animals and trashing houses, the court heard.

Previously in an email sent to Mr and Mrs Scott, Hill had told them that she would be prepared to release them from their tenancy agreement. Mr Farr said that may have been because other tenants would have been willing to pay a higher rent.

Mr Farr said that hostility towards Americans appeared to be part of the motivation for Hill’s behaviour, despite her being of joint British-American parentage and married to an American.

The trial continues.