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Samantha Shaw in King’s Lynn court after sending dead pig’s head to neighbour in Sporle

It started with a strong friendship between two neighbours, and it ended with a restraining order after a pig’s head was posted through the mail.

Samantha Shaw, 46, posted the farm animal body part – as well as fragments of dead birds – to a woman she used to call an acquaintance on July 15 and August 3 last year.

The details of the alarming case were heard at Lynn Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, where Shaw, of Priory Place in Sporle, pleaded guilty to a charge of harassment without violence.

The alarming case of Samantha Shaw was heard at Lynn Magistrates’ Court on Thursday
The alarming case of Samantha Shaw was heard at Lynn Magistrates’ Court on Thursday

Crown prosecutor Colette Harper told the court that police investigated after the victim first received the bird parts through the mail, but were unable to piece together enough evidence to pursue a case at the time.

However, when another parcel was dropped off with a label reading, ‘Have a good day’, suspicions were aroused again. Inside was the head of a dead pig, complete with a cut across its forehead.

Magistrates were told a wealth of conflicting details which highlighted the “tit for tat” nature of the ordeal.

A personal statement from the victim was read by Ms Harper. In it, the victim said she had been friends with Shaw for around 16 months, helping and supporting her during a pregnancy.

However, one day this changed and “spiralled”.

She said that since this, many of her neighbours have taken Shaw’s side, with some no longer talking to the victim as they have had their “heads poisoned” by “lies she has made up”.

The court heard that some neighbours have even taken to approaching the victim’s house and staring through the windows in what she feels has been an attempt to “intimidate” her.

She described the “detrimental effect” this has had on her, with numerous ambulances called out to her house since Shaw’s arrest.

The victim said she has a number of terminal health conditions, and she believes she may “die sooner because of the stress these incidents have put on me”.

“Words can’t express the damage this has done,” her statement added.

“I harbour no ill feelings towards her, because she clearly has some major mental health problems.”

However, in mitigation, solicitor Ian Fisher insisted Shaw is “educated, intelligent and articulate”.

The waters were muddied further when Mr Fisher revealed more of the backstory behind the case.

He said the change in the neighbours’ friendship occurred after the victim claimed she had been given a shingles rash by one of Shaw’s young children. A disagreement led to them falling out.

Mr Fisher said that Shaw then discovered the victim had been taking video recordings while making fun of one of her children, who has a medical condition.

This led to Shaw retaliating by sending the dead bird and pig parts through the post.

“My client did these things because she wanted to send a message,” Mr Fisher said.

“She wanted to do something in a way that, I suppose, brought matters to a head, and so she sent these things – and obviously it would have been distressing to receive them.”

The solicitor told magistrates that Shaw is a “caring, kind person” by nature.

“From her point of view, and she is not being boastful or self-satisfied, but after all this came to a head, things have been quiet from the neighbour,” Mr Fisher added.

“So has, paradoxically, something had the desired effect?”

Having heard a wealth of details about the case, magistrates decided to impose a two-year restraining order which will prevent Shaw contacting the victim in any way.

She will also pay her £200 in compensation, but was handed no court costs or victim surcharge.

Magistrates described it as “quite a distressing situation for all concerned in the community” of Sporle.

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