A fraudster whose complaint against a reporter led to him being served with an anti-harassment order by police has been jailed for 30 months.
Travel agent Neelam Desai, 34, sold cheap package holidays which did not exist, dishonestly earning herself some £230,790, the Croydon Advertiser reports.
The paper’s chief reporter Gareth Davies was investigating her over allegations of another scam when she made a complaint of harassment to the police.
He sent her two emails and visited her on one occasion to investigate claims she had met men via an Asian marriage website and tricked them out of tens of thousands using fake identities.
Davies was visited by three police officers in his office six weeks ago and served with a prevention of harassment notice.
Headed: “HARASSMENT IS A CRIMINAL OFFENCE” the letter warned that harassment can take many forms, including "abusive communication” or “repeated attempts to talk to or approach a person who is opposed to this".
Davies argued with the officers saying he was just doing his job, to which one replied: “Because you’re a journalist that doesn’t give you special privileges. You say you are just doing your job, but that’s what the News of the World said and look what happened to that.”
Desai also filed a PCC complaint against Davies in which she alleged that he assaulted her when he called at her home. Davies revealed yesterday that the PCC had closed its case on the matter.
The Newsquest-owned Croydon weekly has sent a legal letter to the Met Police urging it to revoke the harassment letter. It has yet to respond.
The paper is also raising the matter with the Independent Police Complaints Commission.