A former landlady has been spared jail after launching a campaign aimed at harming the careers of NHS staff who helped her after the death of a tenant.
Former Erewash Green Party election candidate Victoria Martindale received psychotherapy following the tragedy, when carbon monoxide fumes seeped from a condemned boiler at a house she owned, Derby Crown Court heard.
When that NHS treatment ended, Martindale staged a campaign demanding the dismissal of her therapist and his manager - launching an online petition and putting placards on railings outside NHS offices and a hospital.
Martindale, 40, of the Brickyard, Stanley Common was convicted of harassment, after failing to obey a restraining order. That put her in breach of a 16-month suspended prison term imposed for the death of lodger Stephen Newton in 2009.
But Recorder Simon Ward said the two offences were different and she would not be sent to prison. Instead, he ordered her to obey a ten-week curfew between 7pm and 7am.
She was put on probation for a year and told by the recorder: “You are a lady who has had many difficulties.
“Underneath it all, you are a thoroughly decent person. Sometimes obviously you feel things have gone wrong and you have got to complain about it.
“There is nothing wrong feeling that way but you need a filter.”
Siward James-Moore, mitigating, said the law meant that Martindale had to plead guilty to the carbon monoxide offence, although the tenant had re-connected the boiler knowing it had been condemned.
“What has happened for her has been a nightmare. Because of the court case and the publicity, there has been widespread public vilification and the possible loss of her home and that has led to a wholesale breakdown.
“She felt the psychotherapy was part of an ongoing process to try and resolve some deep-seated issues and also issues brought about by the court case.
“She tells me she lost her job, lost her home, lost her mind,” said Mr James-Moore. She now accepted that she raised her complaints in the wrong way.”
James Armstrong-Holmes, prosecuting, said Martindale’s NHS course ended when the therapist took another job in Lincolnshire. She then began to complain to the Mental Health Derbyshire Healthcare team before demanding the resignation of the therapist and his manager.
A restraining order was then imposed by magistrates in an attempt to stop her. But Martindale continued and started the online petition in October last year.