Sidmouth targeted with malicious ‘rape’ letters

Malicious letters flood Sidmouth businesses

MALICIOUS, anonymous letters, wrongfully accusing a man of rape, have been sent to female members of staff in hotels, shops and pubs in Sidmouth.

The first-class typed letters, posted from London, arrived in the town just before the start of FolkWeek.

One was also sent to the Sidmouth Herald female staff who man its ‘office’ in Kennaway House.

Hotelier Mark Seward opens the mail for all his hotels and said: “All our sites received them and one was directed to me personally at the Hotel Elizabeth.

“We had five in total. I open the post and saw all of them and contacted the police.”

He said the police, Licensed Victuallers Association and Sidmouth and District Hospitality Association did ring rounds about the letter.

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“Two retailers mentioned it to members of staff, so we knew it wasn’t just us, then we received a police message about them to say it was vindictive and to be ignored.

“They didn’t create that much of a storm…and didn’t cause any distress,” he added.

Police Sergeant Mark Carnell from Honiton asked anyone who received a letter to destroy it and take no notice of its contents, which he did not want revealed.

In a 42-page log he has 15 letters, collected as evidence following complaints, and, said Sgt Carnell, another police force from London was also investigating them.

He said: “Lots of business premises in the Sidmouth area have received letters that could raise concern. We have looked into it and the letters are malicious and there is nothing for the public to be concerned about regarding their content.”

He did not want to go into details over the contents of the letter, which is signed ‘A Victim’.

“They are not threatening letters and the information is false. We don’t expect everyone who received a letter has told us about it. We want to allay any fears in Sidmouth.”

He said police had enough samples of the letter for forensic testing. As the offence took place in London, local police are assisting police investigations there.