Church official ‘harrassed me’

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A CHURCH official launched a bizarre year-long campaign of torment after his sexual advances were spurned by a woman employee, a court heard.

On one occasion Mark Hale who lives in Orrell, sent a copy of the film War of the Roses telling his ex-lover “They kill each other at the end”.

Former company chief executive Hale is accused of a string of “bitter, resentful and malicious” actions targeted at shapely brunette Lynne Williams. Hale, 51, managed the Shrewsbury Diocese Commercial Company Ltd until he was suspended for gross misconduct after a grievance was raised by Miss Williams. She had worked as manager at St Joseph’s Parish Club in Wallasey,and in 2007 he began a brief two-month affair with Hale.

Their relationship was “on and off” for a further three years and ended after a Valentine’s Day holiday to Egypt in 2010 after Miss Williams refused to have sex with Hale.

Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard that in the following April, Miss Williams was subjected to a disciplinary hearing conducted by Hale who accused her of stealing money from the club.

Miss Williams told the court: “I couldn’t do anything about it. I wasn’t bothered anyway because I was looking for a new job.”

She was sacked on April 27 but in the early hours of May 4 she received a mobile phone call from Hale claiming he was about to jump off a motorway bridge.

Miss Williams said: “I told him to go home but I was concerned and tried to reassure him.

“He said it was my fault and I tried to explain to him that his daughter, who was 14, needed him, but he put the phone down and I called the police.”

She dialled 999 and police went to Hale’s home at Orrell, where they found him safe and well.

He later phoned Miss Williams “nine or ten times” prompting her to switch-off her phone.

The court heard Hale then sent a seven-page letter with a copy of James Blunt’s Back To Bedlam album because the song Goodbye My Lover was a reminder of their break up.

The court also heard that Hale sent Miss Williams a copy of the Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner black comedy War of the Roses with a note saying “They kill each other in the end...”

District Judge Michael Abelson asked Miss Williams if she was concerned about Hale’s mental health and she told the court she was “scared and frightened for her children”.

The judge said: “I’ve been doing this job for 40 years and I have never seen anything like this.”

By this time Hale was aware of a grievance against him for gross misconduct made by Miss Williams and blamed her for “vile and shameless” allegations.

Prosecuting solicitor Sue Jones asked Miss Williams how she felt when she read the letter.

Miss Williams replied: “I was worried for my kids and he thought I was trying to get him the sack.

Mrs Jones said: “The defendant tried to control the claimant through punishment and rewards and his actions are bitter, resentful and malicious.”

He faces a single charge under section two of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

The case continues and is expected to last until Friday.