A WOMAN has told of “two years of trauma” after a colleague launched a vile hate campaign against her.
As part of the vendetta against Tracey Lough, manager at Horden’s Sainsbury’s store, Matthew Gibson sent her several sick items through the post.
The 42-year-old wrote to Horden businesses and a school in the village, wrongly claiming Ms Lough was a convicted sex offender and including the names of three fictitious child victims.
Gibson, of Lund Avenue, Durham City, admitted harassment between July 6 and November 12 last year at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court.
As part of his punishment, Gibson has been made subject to a 10-year restraining order banning him from contacting Ms Lough.
Today, Ms Lough, 45, spoke of her relief that Gibson had been brought to justice.
She said: “It’s been two years of trauma, I was his manager. It wasn’t really about the sentence, for me it was about putting an end to it.”
The manager was asked to investigate an internal matter involving Gibson, two years prior to the offences.
The court heard that nothing was found against Gibson, but he later made a complaint against Ms Lough.
Prosecutor Andrea Milson said Ms Lough received a letter containing a condom with semen inside.
She said: “She was quite shocked and had a few tears, and she spoke to colleagues who advised her to contact the police.”
Then weeks later, she received another letter, but upon opening it, she found a used sanitary towel.
Michelle Gallagher, defending, asked magistrates not to impose a restraining order as Gibson has since resigned from Sainsbury’s and doesn’t know where Ms Lough lives.
Chairman of the bench, Ian Huitson, said: “The victim has surely been traumatised and embarrassed in the local community by your actions.”
As well as the restraining order, Gibson was given a 12-month community order and told to pay Ms Lough £100 compensation, with £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.