A mistress conducted a bizarre campaign against the unsuspecting wife of the man she was sleeping with – by planting children’s windmills and lollipops in her garden.
Katherine Jane Berry, 44, of Barrow, Cumbria, began targeting the married mother after the man she was secretly seeing refused to end his marriage, a court heard.
Berry, who was secretly seeing the victim’s husband for four years, ‘elaborately’ decorated the garden with brightly coloured children’s windmills and squishy toys.
Her ‘sinister’ behaviour left her victim terrified, magistrates heard.
Katherine Berry, who was secretly seeing the victim’s husband for four years, ‘elaborately’ decorated the garden with brightly coloured children’s windmills, squishy toys, and drumstick lollipops (pictured)
Berry admitted harassing her victim between February and October of 2018 during the hearing at Carlisle Magistrates Court.
Prosecutor Peter Kelly outlined how the victim’s husband was secretly seeing Berry for four years.
They saw each other at least once a week but at some point the man told Berry that he wanted to stay with his wife.
In February last year, he and his wife returned to their Barrow home to find the garden next to the driveway had been elaborately decorated with several brightly coloured children’s windmills.
Berry admitted harassing her victim between February and October of 2018 during the hearing at Carlisle Magistrates Court (pictured)
Also left on the grass were drumstick lollipops, as well as children’s twizzler and squishy toys.
The wife initially thought it was a bit of fun – perhaps the work of a neighbour, or her mum, done to entertain her children.
But this proved not to be the case.
Mr Kelly said the windmills and sweets continued to appear.
The woman told police it made her feel ‘anxious and scared.’
She said: ‘Every time I thought it had stopped, it would start again.
‘My husband also told me he’d binned some items without telling me.’
At other times, the woman returned from the school run, having been away from home for just 20 minutes – and she found yet more decorations in her garden.
The windmills also mysteriously appeared beneath her car windscreen wipers – on one occasion after she had been to an event in Barrow.
In September, the campaign took a sinister turn as the family set off for a day out in Blackpool.
During the journey, the couple noticed the car was being tailed by a Nissan Micra.
The female driver – the defendant – overtook them, and then slowed down, the court heard.
The victim and her husband were so concerned they pulled off the road to shake off the pursuer – but not before the wife photographed the car.
That photo eventually led police to Berry.
Speaking of the impact, the traumatised victim said that she became anxious and fearful and came to see the windmills as ‘sinister’.
The decorations were like a shrine on a baby’s grave, and she feared for her children.
She said: ‘I felt like the windmills were being left for me.
‘It made me feel uncomfortable and scared. It looked like a shrine, and disturbed me. I lost half a stone in weight and struggled to eat and sleep.
‘It very much affected me and my life.’
Her husband later told police he was in a sexual relationship with Berry for four years and had tried to end it – but Berry refused to let him walk away.
He said: ‘I felt I had to keep seeing her to save my marriage.
‘I didn’t want [my wife] to find out… I asked [Berry] to stop leaving things and she said ‘I will do what I want to make me feel better.’
‘I have repeatedly told her and she has always refused.’
He told Berry how the windmills scared his wife, he said.
He added: ‘I believe she left them in the hope that [my wife] would question me and our affair would be uncovered.’
Jack Troup, for Berry, said: ‘This in essence seems to have been started as a joke.’
A woman of previous good character, Berry worked with adults with learning difficulties and was no longer seeing the victim’s husband, who has split from his wife.
The lawyer added: ‘She expresses a significant degree of remorse, which is genuine.’
Magistrates gave Berry a 12 month community order with 140 hours of unpaid work.
They also imposed a restraining order, banning Berry from contacting her victim until January, 2021, along with prosecution costs of £85 and a victim surcharge for the same amount.
The case was heard by magistrates in Carlisle because Berry formerly worked at Barrow Magistrates Court.