Britain’s oldest stalker, 88, hounded 54-year-old female accountant

Churchgoing widower, 88, becomes Britain’s oldest stalker for hounding 54-year-old female accountant with letters and gifts after chance meeting while he was carrying a Bible

  • Frank Chadwick met Sheila Thompson in Salford, Greater Manchester in 2016
  • Ms Thompson offered to help the pensioner carry out research for his vicar 
  • Chadwick then followed her to church and appeared outside her house
  • He admitted stalking without fear, alarm or distress yesterday

Frank Chadwick (pictured) appeared outside Sheila Thompson’s home in Salford, Greater Manchester and bombarded her with letters

A devout churchgoer aged 88 has become Britain’s oldest stalker after hounding a younger woman he met through their shared interest in the bible.

Widower Frank Chadwick had hoped for companionship with Sheila Thompson, 54, after the death of his wife just before their 50th wedding anniversary.    

Chadwick met Ms Thompson, an accountant, after they bumped into other while they were out walking in Salford, Greater Manchester in 2016.

At the time he had a bible in his hand as he had been asked to research a question posed by his vicar.

Ms Thompson offered to help, but after the pair had a cup of tea together Chadwick, who is partially deaf, began stalking Ms Thompson over a period of two years.

He asked if he could volunteer at a community centre where she worked and concerns were then raised when Chadwick began following her to church on a Sunday.

The OAP was asked to leave the community centre when he admitted the only reason he went was to see Ms Thompson. 

He then started hand-delivering cards, letters and gifts to her home in Salford.

Chadwick was eventually reported to police after being seen repeatedly lurking around Ms Thompson’s cul-de-sac – forcing her to hide behind the curtains to avoid his gaze.

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In a statement read to Machester Magistrates Court yesterday Ms Thompson said: ‘Due to his behaviour I am still keeping the blinds shut in my living room as he could still see me if I sat in my chair.

‘When I approach my house, I check I have my keys ready and check he is not lurking in the area. 

‘I avoid answering the phone or door unless I know who it is. I have to consider what he may do before I do things myself.’ 

Chadwick, of Westhoughton, Bolton, admitted one count of stalking without fear, alarm or distress and was banned from contacting Ms Thompson for 18 months under the terms of a restraining order.

Chadwick, from Westhoughton, Bolton, admitted one count of stalking without fear, alarm or distress at Manchester Magistrates Court and was handed an 18-month restraining order

He was also conditionally discharged for 18 months.  

Prosecutor Lynn Rogers had told the court: ‘The two met by complete chance.

‘She was out walking in February 2016, when she saw him and they started to chat, and they had a cup of tea together and arranged to meet for lunch.

‘She took him to a local centre where she works as a volunteer. He asked if he could also volunteer but was told it would not be appropriate. 

‘He followed her to her place of worship, and would send her hand-written letters, and hand-deliver them through her front door.

‘At the centre he was spoken to by staff and asked him if the reason he wanted to volunteer for them was because he wanted to be close to her and he said yes. 

‘He was told not to attend the centre anymore.

‘He was reported in 2016 and March 2017 as she saw him walking down her cul-de-sac. 

‘He went up to her house and he knocked on the door and rang the bell to try to contact her. 

‘She remained in her house and the curtains were drawn in the front.

‘She said he was seen by a neighbour and he was loitering around the area, and posted letters and a book through her door.’

Chadwick later attended a police station on August 21, 2018 where he was arrested. 

In mitigation defence lawyer Adam Whittaker said: ‘He had impeccable character and it is unfortunate we have to be in this situation today.

‘He just didn’t understand what has happened. He does have difficulties with hearing, and he communicates by letters.

‘He lost his wife on Christmas Day a few years ago, just as they were approaching their 50th wedding anniversary and she was his life companion.

‘His family have grown up and he find great comfort in the church. On the first meeting with her he had his bible, and he was working on a question from his minister.

‘She approached him and spoke to him first. After they swapped numbers, she contacted him after that and they met for lunch. 

‘They went to each other’s place of workshop.

‘He felt there was more to this friendship than there actually was. He wanted to see her.

‘She told him to then not contact her for three months and he thought maybe that would salvage their friendship. 

‘He didn’t know why or what he did wrong. He just sought after companionship.

‘This has gone on for a period of around two years. He has a good character and entered an early guilty plea.

‘He has no previous convictions. Probation do not need to be involved with a man of 88 years of age.’

District judge Khalid Qureshi dismissed the need for punishment, and said: ‘There was no malice involved and there was no threat, it was just the persistence of the matter.

‘I will make this a conditional discharge for 18 months. In terms of the restraining order, you must not go to her address or contact her in anyway way whatsoever. The restraining order will be in place for 18 months.’    

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