A mother said she suffered a miscarriage after being terrorised by her perverted neighbour for five years – including burning an effigy of her in the garden.
Caroline Bawdon, 42, was tormented by her parents’ neighbour, Stanislaw Johnson, after she moved into their home to care for them.
The initially friendly pensioner turned on her for no apparent reason – taunting her with bizarre insults and laughing in a sinister way whenever he saw her.
Caroline Bawdon, standing in the driveway outside her parents’ home in Blackpool, Lancashire, was subjected to five years of terror by Stanislaw Johnson who lived next door
But the taunts took a dark turn and he burned a 6ft effigy of Ms Bawdon – complete with a blonde wig – in his back garden, while shouting ‘burn in hell’.
He breached a restraining order four times – even pleasuring himself on his porch, while she was sunbathing and threatening to rape her 17-year-old daughter.
Johnson, who was jailed for three years for stalking in March 2014, died in prison in April 2018 after making new threats against Ms Bawdon on the day he was due to be released.
A day before she was due to provide evidence at his trial, Ms Bawdon, who was seven-weeks-pregnant miscarried her baby.
Ms Bawdon said the years of torment saw her lose her job and she only feels able to speak out after he died while being detained in a psychiatric unit.
The former health centre receptionist, said: ‘I’m a shadow of my former self.
Johnson, who was 71 when pictured in this mugshot from March 2014, was jailed for three years for breaching a restraining order and stalking Ms Bawdon. He died in prison in April 2018 after his sentence was extended for making an abusive comment to a prison officer about Ms Bawdon on the day he was due to be released from prison
I used to have a job, a car, I was healthy and happy.
‘I used to be able to drive but now even nervous in the passenger seat. I think it’s because every time I used to come out my car he would be there.
‘Hopefully one day I’ll get back behind the wheel but now I’m just too anxious. He’s completely ruined my life.
‘It was completely devastating.
‘The stress of it all made me lose my beautiful baby.
‘Despite the fact he had been sentenced I couldn’t relax.
‘I lived in fear of bumping into him again as I thought he would be out for revenge because I put him in prison.’
Ms Bawdon moved into her parents’ house in Lytham, Blackpool, in 2009 to help her 74-year-old mother, who was suffering from chronic pancreatitis.
But after a year of caring for her elderly parents, neighbour Johnson launched his sinister tirade of harassment.
She said: ‘We used to get on at the beginning. He’d always give me a friendly “hiya” whenever I would pop in and out the house.
‘We were friendly enough for him to be invited to my sister’s 21st. Then after about a year it just escalated.
‘The smiles would turn into a sinister laughter. When I walk to my car he would say provocative things like “Lovely girl Caroline” and “That’s it good girl Caroline”.
‘It was cringey.
The abuse started a year after she moved back in with her aging parents Peter, 73, left, and Ann, 78, right
Johnson lived in the house on the right and the Bawdon’s on the left of this shared driveway
Ms Bawdon said she suffered a miscarriage on the day before she was due to give evidence in Johnson’s trial for breaching a barring order and stalking
‘When I used to work in the jewellers in town he bought a pack of seeds and chucked them into the shop so the pigeons would come in.
‘Again he’d stand there laughing. The next few weeks he’d follow me to work.
‘Then I was walking past his house one afternoon and he started calling me a zombie and that I was going to experience pain.
‘He went “Enjoy the pain zombie” and then told me my family were going to burn.
‘At first I thought he was a nut job but he was encroaching every aspect of my life.
‘If I was in the garden he’d walk all the way to the back of our garden.
‘If I asked what he was doing he just laughed.
Johnson even threatened to rape Ms Bawdon’s 17-year-old daughter
‘If I were in the kitchen he would make a point of being in his kitchen which is directly across.
‘He would wave his arms about and without a top on.
‘Or maybe he was naked – I just couldn’t tell.
‘He would make gestures and just start laughing.
‘It was intimidating.
‘Making a sandwich would come with making sure all the blinds were closed so he couldn’t see us.
‘But that didn’t last long as he started opening his kitchen window shouting “Lovely Caroline” alongside this crazed laughing.
‘My parents decided to build a 6ft wall between the two kitchens.
‘If we were on the pavement outside our house he would stand at his bedroom window grinning and shouting that we were to ‘burn in hell’.
‘When I would walk my dog he would follow me and start shouting abuse.
‘It was all to do with fire.
‘I wasn’t safe in or outside my parent’s home.’
In 2010 Johnson was handed his first restraining order having been caught pleasuring himself on his porch while Ms Bawdon sunbathed.
Despite initially respecting the restraining order within months Johnson was back to his warped tirade.
He burned a 6ft effigy, complete with a blonde wig in his back garden, shouting ‘burn in hell’.
She said: ‘When he was given the first restraining order he was told not to have no verbal or physical contact with me.
The Bawdons’ were forced to build a six-foot all to provide their daughter with some privacy from Johnson, who had been spotted pleasuring himself while she was in the garden sunbathing
Johnson even set fire to a life sized effigy of Ms Bawdon replete with a blonde wig and t-shirt
‘He respected that for about three months and wouldn’t even look at me.
‘But then it just started again.
‘I’d phone the police and he’d get arrested but he’d be back out in a day or two.
‘Then one day I saw a big plume of smoke coming from the back garden.
‘I saw it was coming from his garden.
‘I looked over and saw this figure dressed in a blonde wig and a t-shirt.
‘He was on his hands and knees chanting my name.
‘Then he got up with his hands on his hips shouting “burn in hell”.
‘He was 6ft 3in bald man standing there like a laughing clown.
‘It looked like me.
‘It was terrifying.
‘The fire brigade were called but he refused to let them tend to the fire.
‘So the police had to be called.
‘I was told to get inside for my own safety.
‘Later that week the fire brigade came to my house to fit smoke alarms.
‘They also fitted a special bag behind the letter box to catch any incendiary devices.
‘They also provided us with a small hammer to break the double glazed windows in case we had to exit the house in the emergency.
‘He wasn’t like this with my parents but any time I was there he would get like this.
‘We couldn’t take any chances.’
The fire brigade installed a special device inside the Bawdon’s front door to catch any incendiary devices posted through the letter box and supplied a small hammer designed to break double glazing windows in the event of an arson attack
In 2013 Johnson was charged with two counts of breaching the restraining order and stalking after shouting he would ‘f***’ Ms Bawdon and ‘rape your daughter’.
In March 2014 Johnson was sentenced to three years at Preston Crown Court for two offences of acting in breach of a restraining order, plus one offence of stalking, likely to cause fear of violence or serious alarm, or distress.
The judge told Johnson: ‘You should be thoroughly ashamed.’
He was due for release in December 2016 but the day he made a derogatory remark to a prison officer about Ms Bawdon.
His sentence extended and he was sent to Harbour psychiatric unit.
Ms Bawdon still lived in fear of Johnson returning to the street and continuing his rampage.
Last July when visiting her parents’ house, Ms Bawdon was told by a neighbour that Johnson had died.
She claims she has been let down by the authorities who failed to tell her of his death and says despite him never returning, she remains traumatised by his actions.
She said: ‘A neighbour came up to me and said “I can’t believe Stanislaw is dead”.
‘He had died a few months earlier in May.
‘It would have been nice to be told by the police.
‘Although he was back behind bars there was no date for me to look out for.
‘I was still looking over my shoulder.
‘It was a bit of a “ding dong the witch is dead” moment when I was told he had died.
‘It was a weight had been lifted.
‘But you don’t bounce back immediately from these things.
‘Before he started his obsession with me I had a job, car, I was healthy and happy.
‘I now have no job because I have Acute Anxiety Disorder and depression.
‘I just want people to know how things like this can affect your life and should be taken seriously.
‘I didn’t tell anyone about it. I just used to shrug him off as a nut job.
‘But he’s ruined my life.
‘I’m slowly getting back to the person I used to be.
‘I’m not dependent on alcohol and I’ve started exercising.
‘But I’m still a shadow of who I used to be.’