A Leeds tenant has been sentenced after pleading guilty in connection with antisemitic e-mails to her landlord following an eviction notice.
Julie Ann Rycroft, 66 and now of Garforth, was accused by a judge at Leeds Crown Court of having “lost all sense of rationality” after she sent 148 e-mails over four months. The substance of the e-mails was, according to the prosecution, “grossly offensive, antisemitic and racially aggravated.”
Ms Rycroft, who has no previous convictions, had been living in a rented property in Rothwell in early 2020 when the premises were taken over by a new landlord, who issued her with a Section 21 notice, effectively declining to renew her lease.
She then proceeded to send e-mails and voicemail messages to the landlord’s solicitor, calling the landlord a “bastard” and “a piece of s***,” while also making references to him being Jewish.
She reportedly ignored a warning from West Yorkshire Police in September 2020, and in November 2020 admitted sending the e-mails but denied being racist, insisting that the language merely reflected “how she talked” and explaining that it arose from the stress of the eviction. However, she then sent a significant batch of offensive e-mails in the first half of 2022.
She was then arrested in July 2022, admitting again that she had sent the e-mails but denying that they were racially-aggravated.
She eventually pleaded guilty, however, to two counts of racially-aggravated harassment and one of simple harassment.
Judge Simon Batiste said that her conduct merited a custodial sentence, but, despite observing that she had “little victim awareness” and “little or no remorse”, gave her an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. In addition, she was given ten rehabilitation days and a ten-year restraining order, banning her from contacting the landlord or the employees of the property’s management company.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis of Home Office statistics shows that an average of over five hate crimes are directed at Jews every single day in England and Wales, with Jews more than five times likelier to be targets of hate crimes than any other faith group.