A piece by David Brown in today’s Times, emphases ours:
The story of what happened to Lyn Fisk after she moved to the Devon village of Ashreigney following the death of her husband could have been lifted from the script of The Archers.
The newcomer, whose late husband had been an RAF pilot, received a warm welcome when she moved to the community, which has a population of just 446. Her new neighbours rallied round to help her build a luxury home set within 30 acres of pasture and woodland, including a wildlife haven and river frontage.
But in a twist that would have enthralled listeners to BBC Radio 4’s rural drama, her new life turned sour when she fell out with a local farmer who claimed that they had become lovers.
The widow made a 999 call to the police falsely claiming that Andrew Thorne had threatened to kill her when he confronted her while armed with a shotgun, Exeter crown court was told.
Mr Thorne’s home at Crabdown Farm was raided by armed officers. He spent 18 hours in custody before being released without charge when police discovered that the encounter had been caught on CCTV — and the footage showed he was not carrying a weapon.
Fisk, 59, was found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice but avoided a jail sentence yesterday.
The widow’s false allegation was the culmination of a growing animosity with Mr Thorne which started in about 2015 and included disputes about land, logging, a holiday cabin she had built and errant sheep, the court was told.
She alleged that the farmer had embarked on a campaign of harassment and intimidation after she rejected his advances. This included shooting in woods near her home and sending her unwanted love letters. Mr Thorne said they had been in a sexual relationship which Fisk ended after he had finished helping to build her new home overlooking Mully Brook, between Exmoor and Dartmoor. [J4MB: Well, that was a coincidence, timing-wise.]
The farmer said he was heartbroken and explained that his letters to her were attempts to express his feelings rather than harassment. He accepted a police caution for harassment and had his shotgun licence revoked.
Emily Pitts, in mitigation, told the court the widow had “lost so much in her life” and had attempted suicide, suffered eating disorders and been unable to have children. [J4MB: How is any of this mitigation? It’s a cynical appeal to gynocentrism.] Her husband, Flight Lieutenant Mark Fisk, had been an RAF helicopter pilot for almost 30 years and served in Northern Ireland, the Falklands and on search and rescue.
He was electrocuted aged 49 while rewiring their home at Whitestaunton, Somerset, in May 2010. His death came weeks after he took part in a rescue operation to save the crew of a freighter in the Atlantic while operating at the furthest distance limit of his Sea King helicopter. His widow appealed for donations to plant 1,000 trees to create “Mark’s Memorial Wood” around the plot in Ashreigney where they were planning to build their dream home.
Judge Timothy Rose told Fisk that the trial jury “saw through your lies” and that she had shown “no remorse for the situation you created and harm you inflicted”. The court was told she had a previous conviction for harassment.
Judge Rose said he had concerns for Fisk’s wellbeing if she was sent to prison. [J4MB: Prison is, thankfully, good for men’s wellbeing.] He imposed a suspended jail term, ordered her to carry out 250 hours’ unpaid work and to pay Mr Thorne £3,000 compensation. Fisk recently sold her house, which was on the market for £875,000, and is moving 100 miles away from Ashreigney.
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