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Love struck woman bombarded clergyman with 87 letters in just three months, court hears

PUBLISHED: 16:17 15 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:17 15 September 2018

Maureen Peace. Picture: Denise Bradley

Maureen Peace. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant

A love-struck woman with an eight-year obsession with a clergyman breached a banning order by bombarding him with 87 letters in just three months, a court heard.

Rev Keith Rengert Picture: Colin FinchRev Keith Rengert Picture: Colin Finch

Maureen Peace, 56, became fixated with Rev Keith Rengert, sending him letters, cards and gifts, repeatedly ignoring a restraining order, as she told police she was “in love” with him, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Lynne Shirley, prosecuting, said in the latest breach of contacting the Rev Rengert, who is a team rector in mid-Norfolk, Peace sent him 87 letters between February and April, this year.

Ms Shirley said when arrested, Peace said she knew she should not be writing to him but found it hard because she was in love with him.

She said Peace first met the rector when he was curate in St Nicholas Church, North Walsham, and on two previous occasions Peace had been jailed for breaching the order.

In an impact statement the married rector said the obsession was badly affecting him and his family and said it would be a relief for the letters to stop.

However in an act of compassion he said he did not want to see Peace jailed, but just wanted letters to his private address to stop.

Peace, of Park Court, North Walsham, admitted breaching the restraining order and after taking on board the views of Rev Rengert and reading reports on her mental health, Judge Maureen Bacon told Peace she would vary the restraining order, so that she could write to him at his office, not personal address.

She told Peace that the Rev Rengert had done nothing to encourage her attention and warned Peace: “If you persist to write to Rev Rengert at his home address that would put a very different complexion on things. It may put you in a worse position.”

She also imposed a two year community order, with a mental health requirement.

Jonathan Goodman, for Peace, said: “She clearly has a long-standing misguided and unrequited perception of the vicar’s feelings towards her.”

He said no punishments, including prison, in the past had discouraged her and the only way was to break the cycle.

Rev Rengert, was also formerly rector of Spixworth, Crostwick and Horsham St Faith and chaplain to Norwich International Airport.

He is also chaplain to the East of England Ambulance Service and East Anglian Air Ambulance.

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