Pensioner ‘was handcuffed in Leeds charity shop’

Jeanne Wilding at Leeds Crown Court. Picture: Ross Parry AgencyJeanne Wilding at Leeds Crown Court. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Jeanne Wilding at Leeds Crown Court. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
A PENSIONER had to be led away in handcuffs by police after she launched a campaign of harassment against staff at charity shops in Leeds, a court has been told.

A trial at Leeds Crown Court heard yesterday that Jeanne Wilding was in breach of an anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) which had been imposed on her by police when she entered the charity shops and caused “harassment, alarm or distress”.

Leeds Crown Court heard that Wilding went into the premises of Emmaus and St Vincent’s shops in the city and shouted at staff, refused to leave or stay away when asked and tried to leave without paying for items.

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On one occasion, officers from West Yorkshire Police were called and Wilding was led away in handcuffs.

Wilding, of Millwright Street in Mabgate in Leeds, faces a total of seven charges of breaching an anti-social behaviour order.

The 64-year-old defendant has pleaded not guilty to all the charges that she is facing.

One count relates to David Kirk, a member of staff who had been working for Emmaus, which is based on St Mary’s Street.

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The nationwide charity provides accommodation for the homeless and helps them rebuild their lives and find employment.

Chloe Fairley, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court that Mr Kirk had moved out from the charity’s housing and into a flat beside Wilding.

The pair then went on holiday together, and Wilding allegedly said she would be able to find work for him.

Miss Fairley went on to tell the court that once the holiday was over and he moved next door to Wilding, the defendant’s behaviour dramatically changed towards him.

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The jury heard that Wilding made Mr Kirk work for free and if he refused she launched into “a torrent of abuse” and “flew into a rage” with him.

On another occasion, this time at the St Vincent’s store on Lincoln Green Road, Wilding allegedly got another person to hand a letter to a member of staff which was from the defendant and was said to be derogatory.

Just weeks after this incident, Wilding again entered the St Vincent’s store and allegedly caused alarm to staff, and she was later arrested by police officers.

The St Vincent’s charity, which was formed in Paris in 1833, is an international Christian voluntary organisation dedicated to tackling poverty and deprivation. In England & Wales, about 10,000 volunteers make more than half a million visits each year to vulnerable people in their communities.

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Miss Fairely told the jury yesterday that Wilding had targeted the charity shops in a concerted campaign of harassment.

She added: “These are two entirely independent stores and the prosecution say the defendant has deliberately ignored bans in the stores and engaged in behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm, or distress to staff in the stores,”

Alison Ward, the general manager of Emmaus, told the court about a confrontation that she had with Wilding in which she said she had felt intimidated.

She said: “It is very difficult to have a conversation with someone who is continually shouting over the top of you. Standing so close to you being vile - it is the best word really.”

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The court heard that just a day after Wilding had been issued with an harassment order by West Yorkshire Police which banned her from entering any of the Emmaus branches, she was back in the building.

The jury was told that Wilding was refused service from the coffee shop and then tried to leave the premises without paying for something, but Ms Ward stopped her.

“You have no idea, she is just very intimidating,” said Ms Ward.

The trial is due to continue today.