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Keighley town councillor's shock at 'staring stalker'
A Keighley town councillor described how she felt “sick to her stomach” after reading somebody boasting on Facebook that he repeatedly drives past her house and stares through her kitchen window.
Coun Margaret Ward, a former town mayor, was so disturbed with what she read on the social networking site that she contacted the police, who have since issued a verbal warning to the man.
The post was made on the Cavetown Council group page, which was recently set up to “make Keighley Town Council more accountable” and has almost 250 members.
On Saturday one of these members made a comment that Coun Ward felt went far beyond constructive criticism of council policies. The comment read: “I keep driving past Councillor Ward’s house, stop the car outside her kitchen window and just stare.”
Coun Ward, 66, is a retired teacher who lives in Exley Head and has represented the Fell Lane and Westburn Ward since 2007. She said: “This group is consistently giving the council a bad press, but this is verging on the criminal.
“When I heard about it I felt sick to my stomach. I couldn’t sleep that night. I left a message on the neighbourhood policing line and they came and spoke to me the next day.”
The comment came just days after Coun Ward attended a meeting of the council to discuss the coming year’s budget. She seconded a motion to raise the council’s council tax precept by 74.6 per cent, a move many see as highly unpopular. She believes this decision may have made her a target for council critics. She added: “The police had a word with the man and I was told afterwards that he felt extremely sorry. I don’t know if it was because I seconded the motion for the precept rise that I was targeted. It is just nasty, and very upsetting. If he does it again he is liable for harassment.”
West Yorkshire Police confirmed they had spoken to the person who posted the message, with a spokesman saying: “A PCSO has been round to talk to the councillor who explained what happened. We have given a local man a verbal warning.”
Elizabeth Mitchell, the Keighley woman who started the Facebook page, said she knew nothing of the offending post, or the police complaint.