Six year reign of terror ends with life imprisonment

Richard Jan persecuted those who were trying to help him

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A 38 year-old London man has been jailed for life at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court.

Lab technician, Richard Jan had conducted a six-year campaign of nuisance and harassment against health care and local government professionals in West and South London. Jan had a degree in biochemistry and worked at the Queen Charlotte Hospital in Hammersmith until he was made redundant. He then became depressed and violently abusive. His reign of terror included an attack on the home of Acton councillor Liz Brookes.

He is now being described as the country's worst ever stalker after campaign which involved 4,500 crank calls, 200 threatening letters and attacks on his victims' homes. He was so methodical that he even gave the campaign a code name - 'Saffron Sun'. Over 1,000 statements were taken by the prosecution and 109 witnesses testified against him.

In 1996 Richard Jan's parents asked the London Borough of Ealing Social Services to assess his mental condition due to his violent and irrational behaviour. Ms Shauna Bailey, a care manager, attended the address in Ealing with a colleague from West London Mental Health Trust. The assessment concluded that he was not suffering from any treatable mental illness and therefore it was not appropriate for him to be detained under the Mental Health Act.

Following this Ms Bailey became one of many targets for his anger and violence. He made a total of 211 official complaints against members of the assessing team and those associated with them.

Those affected were employees of the London Borough of Ealing, West London Mental Health Trust, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, Bevan Ashford Solicitors (solicitors representing Ealing Council in civil proceedings brought against Jan in the County Courts) and members of the National Schizophrenia Fellowship.

He vented his anger by writing endless letters - some demanding, some threatening; Making hundreds of telephone calls to their homes or places of work . The stalking of various employees was sometimes relatively harmless but on occasions accompanied by violence. He also arranged delivery of unwanted documents and services such as. pizzas and pest control.

In August 2001 he set fire to a car belonging to Shauna Bailey whilst parked outside her home address in Ealing. Following this incident Shauna Bailey has not worked since and has relocated to a secret address.

From 1998 Jan targeted elected officials of the Council. In 1996 Councillor Brookes had chaired the social services committee that had heard Jan's complaints. In July 1998 on two occasions her car windows were broken but nothing was taken. She also started receiving silent calls.

In November 2001 at her home in Grafton Road, Acton she heard the sound of gushing water from inside her hallway. Thinking that someone was trying to break in she made her way downstairs. She shouted out, to warn her family, that they were being burgled but suddenly the front door glass broke and a fireball rose up. She rushed into the living room, shouting at her children not to come downstairs and called the emergency services. As she cowered from the flames and smoke, trapped in her front room, she could see some of her neighbours outside her house but was unable to get out until the flames had been put out.

Her partner was awoken by a piercing scream and when he left his room he found that the hall was a raging inferno. He managed to break open the skylight and climb out onto the roof from where he was rescued by the fire brigade

Fortunately all of the family made their escape shocked but relatively unhurt. As a result the house was uninhabitable or six months, Cllr Brookes was off work for five months and she and her family have since relocated.

Detective Chief Inspector David Poole who led the investigation said, "I am delighted with today's sentence. It has taken a great deal of courage for some of these victims to give evidence. This was a complex and difficult enquiry and this successful prosecution has been due to the hard work of all those involved in the case".

His Honour Judge Henry Blacksell QC commended officers DCI Dave Poole, DS James Tunn, DC Andrew Prosser, DC Barry Walsh, and DC Miles Manning for the high standard of the investigation.

July 9, 2004