Closing speeches made in trial of King’s Lynn hospital boss

GV of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital , King's Lynn ENGANL00120140502173025
GV of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital , King's Lynn ENGANL00120140502173025
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Closing speeches have been made this morning in the trial of a senior Queen Elizabeth Hospital executive accused of writing a series of poison pen letters about a colleague.

Karl Perryman, 52, has been on trial for almost two weeks at Lynn Crown Court charged with stalking and witness intimidation, which he denies.

Addressing the jury of six men and six women, prosecuting barrister Jude Durr said the facts of the case spoke for themselves and argued the right verdict was to convict Perryman on both counts.

He described Perryman, the hospital’s head of legal services, as a man “who is very careful and particular about what he does and says.”

And he said: “It’s my suggestion to you that the defendant, through his legal team and his evidence, has embarked on a deliberate campaign to create a fog of suggestion, innuendo and counter-allegation.”

As previously reported, the case relates to a series of letters written about a hospital complaints manager, Joanne O’Neill, and sent to her and several other people in late 2012 and early 2013.

Mr Durr pointed out that around 70 per cent of one of the letters in the case had been found in a document stored on a computer seized from Perryman’s home.

And he argued Perryman’s motivation for composing the letters was that he felt he had been “jilted” by Ms O’Neill in favour of the hospital’s deputy director of ICT, Michael Brown.

He referred to a conversation Perryman had with Mr Brown in October 2012, in which he said he wanted to give Mr Brown the “heads up” about Ms O’Neill.

And he asked: “What possible business could he have to discuss Mr Brown’s love life? This is just a Jilted John trying to make sure someone else didn’t get the prize that he had earlier yearned for.”

On the witness intimidation charge, he said the alleged victim, Ms O’Neill’s mother, Margaret Titmarsh, had had the presence of mind to both take a photograph of Perryman and phone the police to complain about his conduct.

He dismissed the defence’s version of events as “nowhere near credible”, adding: “If it’s some kind of pantomime, Mrs Titmarsh must be North West Norfolk’s answer to Meryl Streep.”

But defence barrister Susannah Stevens said the jury could not rely on the evidence presented by Ms O’Neill because of numerous inconsistencies within it.

She argued that it didn’t make sense for Perryman to have behaved as he was alleged to have done and insisted there was no independent evidence that supported the Crown’s claims.

She argued that he would not be the careful man that Mr Durr had suggested he was if he had written the letters, adding: “If the prosecution are right, he would have to be the most stupid and the most careless man on the planet.”

Miss Stevens insisted that the jury could not rule out the possibility that other people had both the motivation or the knowledge to write the letters.

She also questioned why no other documents relating to the letters had been found on the computers seized and suggested that the detail contained within them, such as that relating to the jewellery Ms O’Neill wore,showed they could not have been written by a man.

On the witness intimidation allegation, Miss Stevens pointed out that Perryman himself had complained to the police that he and his daughter were being filmed.

And she said her client would have to have been “absolutely bonkers” to have behaved in that way.

She also argued that if the jury doubted prosecution witnesses’ evidence on the stalking charge, that had to have a “knock-on effect” on how they viewed the evidence relating to the intimidation count aswell.

Judge Nicholas Coleman is due to begin summing up the case this afternoon. The jury is expected to retire to consider its verdicts on Monday.