The head of complaints and legal services at Queen Elizabeth Hospital stalked a female colleague and called her a “tart” after she rejected his advances, King’s Lynn Crown Court heard today.
Karl Perryman, 52, is said to have written eight separate letters about Joanne O’Neill, a complaints manager, who he had described as his “prodigy”.
When Ms O’Neill, 39, started her job at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, the two were said to have “banter” together.
But when he allegedly purchased a necklace from jewellers Ernest Jones, Ms O’Neill, who had a long term partner, grew “embarrassed” and declined the gift.
The letters began in December 2012 and were addressed to Ms O’Neill, her partner, her line manager, her mother and the human resources manager at the hospital.
Each letter appeared to come from a Christian woman who worked at the hospital and wanted to “put a stop to” the “deplorable conduct” of Ms O’Neill and the deputy director of ICT at the hospital Michael Brown.
The letters accused Ms O’Neill of cheating on her partner with Mr Brown, as well as “strutting around like a catwalk model” and “sleeping her way to the top.”
They said Ms O’Neill was a “user” and an “accomplished liar” who wore “short skirts with no tights and heels too high” and had threatened that she would “reap” what she sowed.
Another letter called Ms O’Neill “Jo Jo Judas” and quoted chapters from the Bible while one accused her own father of sexually abusing her.
Perryman denies one count of stalking and one count of intimidating a witness - Ms O’Neill’s mother.
Jude Durr, opening the prosecution case at King’s Lynn Crown Court, said the letters had a “significant effect” on the NHS worker’s life.
He said: “These letters had dark and spiteful undertones. All concerned rank, status, sex, lying, cheating, flirting, dressing inappropriately and reaping what you sow. By the time she made a statement on January 16 these letters had already had a significant affect on her life.
“She felt genuinely frightened that she was being watched every time she attended a meeting or saw a colleague in the corridor. It was also affecting her home life. She didn’t at that stage have any idea who could be so vindictive and hateful. The invasion of her personal, professional and private life caused a real devastating fear of escalation.”
After police traced the letters to Perryman they found quantities of them on his computer and he was arrested. He was also have found to have searched the victim’s name in Google a number of times.
After his arrest he also allegedly approached Ms O’Neill’s mother Margaret Titmarsh when she was in a car on her own on July 8.
He allegedly pointed at her and said: “I’ve had you now, you’ll see, you don’t know what’s coming to you” before he did a “thumb across the throat” gesture.
Ms O’Neill, who is now married to Michael Brown, said the letters were “deeply upsetting”.
She said: “I was frightened because someone had written to my home address and said horrible things. I was shocked.
“It was upsetting as I was going through a break up and felt like someone had intruded and was saying lies about me which upset us both. “What was going on between my partner and me was private, I felt humiliated.”
The prosecutor said Ms O’Neill was first interviewed for a job at the hospital with Perryman on the interview panel.
After she was turned down he personally called her to say he was “so impressed with her as a candidate that he would do his damnedest to get her a job.”
A couple of months later he had got her a job and said he would “take her under his wing” and she could “be his prodigy” and she soon began covering his job when he was on leave.
He allegedly said he “wouldn’t have it” if she was with someone who made her feel special as “he wanted to make her feel special”.
He is said to have bought her a necklace from Ernest Jones but when Ms O’Neill declined the offer he made sent a friend request on Facebook to her under the name “Earnest(corr) Jones”, which she did not accept.
At the time her relationship with partner Phillip Twite, 39, was breaking down and she had begun a friendship with line manager Michael Brown.
The first letter was sent to her work in mid December claiming Mr Brown had been “bragging” about having sexual relations with Ms O’Neill and another female hospital worker.
The letter read: “Both of these women are allowed to dress like hookers in short skirts and dresses, competing against one another for who can have the highest heel.
“She has been flirting with him. She then paraded past us like a supermodel. When will men learn that these two are nothing but users using their sexuality to get what they want? They are dressing like tarts. This is a hospital, not a knocking shop.”
Two letters then arrived for Mr Twite, at his home on January 7 and his work on January 13, which said the author had heard his partner and Mr Brown had sexual relations.
One read: “They’ve been together using inappropriate body language in and outside of work. She looks sexy, it is inappropriate.
“She changed into casual clothes when she leaves the hospital. We have written to the chief executive to complain. Joanne is extremely manipulative and uses her sexual advantage to get what she wants. She has had many promotions she does not deserve even thought she had been described as next to useless by senior clinicians.“Everyone knows, it is the talk of the directory that they have been sleeping together because they are so Indiscreet. One manager even said she is sleeping her way to the top.”
The other said: “Joanne is an extremely accomplished liar. If you have seen how they behave to either you’d’ve seen straight through their lies.
“I thought you might like to know we are watching. “If she puts one foot out of place we will see it and let you know.”
A letter just a few days later went to Ms O’Neill which said there would be consequences to the actions.
It read: “You plot and you scheme to get an advantage for yourself. You’ve s*** on your friends and you are a user. You think you are untouchable.
“You think you can behave how you like with who you like without consequences, but you will reap what you sow. You think you are the only spiteful one out there.
“We will listen to your corridor conversations, when you’re in the bathroom, so we can get firm evidence for your partner with what you have done.”
Another letter to her on January 28 with a “theme of betrayal” made a number of biblical references claiming she was “Jo Jo Judas” and quoted chapters from Matthew.
A letter also went to Ian Vince, the deputy director of human resources. It said the person wanted to complain about the “deplorable conduct of Michael Brown and Joanne O’Neill” and it said other had been “deeply offended” by their behaviour.
Ms O’Neill’s mother Mrs Titmarsh received a letter claiming her daughter had told people her father had sexually abused her. It said Ms O’Neill needed to “shut her mouth before someone reports it to the police”.
The trial continues.