Hartlepool family fled home after car set alight, court told

A young family were forced to leave their Hartlepool home due to a terrifying campaign of harassment, a court heard.

Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 11:43 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 10:09 am

Ryan Michael James Foster, 26, of St Oswald’s Street, was found guilty at Teesside Magistrates’ Court of harassment – put in fear of violence, for his part in the three-month long ordeal.

The victim told the court how he feared for the safety of himself, his wife and their baby when the campaign, which included death threats, culminated in his car being set alight on September 27, which saw the family leave their home and move into temporary accommodation.

The man said a number of people were involved and it got so bad that he had fire officers fit a device over his letterbox because he feared something being pushed through the door and set alight.

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The case was heard at Teesside Magistrates' Court.

He said the whole thing started in June this year when his wife raised some concerns about Foster and they started getting abuse from his family members.

The man said: “It was an ongoing campaign of harassment. We started recording our journeys to and from the car because of the harassment and abuse we received.

“We were scared and fearful for our safety.”

Monique Jarvis-Legg, prosecuting, said Foster was charged for incidents between August 28 and September 28.

These included him saying things such as ‘next stop is fire, boom, bang’, chanting ‘you fat ****’ outside the victim’s house like he was at a football match, saying to a child he was with ‘I’d love to snap his neck’ and after the car fire saying ‘that’s what you get for grassing, snitches get stitches’.

Of one of the incidents, Ms Jarvis-Legg said: “He put two fingers together in the style of a gun and put them under his chin and said boom and threw his head back.”

The man’s wife told the court: “We didn’t have many days where there wasn’t an incident and many of them involved Ryan Foster.”

Foster denied all the allegations and said at the times some of them were said to have happened he wasn’t allowed out the house because he was on a curfew tag.

He added: “I was the one who called the fire brigade.

“I am angry. I am getting accused of something I didn’t do.”

Defending, Andrew Teate, said there was no evidence that his client had breached his tag order.

He said: “There is never, ever, any CCTV evidence of the defendant. Why was there no record of anything the defendant said?”

However, magistrates found Foster guilty and remanded him in custody for a date to be set for sentencing at Teesside Crown Court.