Monday, 27 May 2013

Helen Michael: The phantom fly poster strikes again ...

Another extraordinary development in the story of Helen Michael, North Finchley cafe owner and parking campaigner who was the victim of Brian Coleman's assault in Finchley High Road last September, an attack to which he pleaded guilty, at the last minute, but in an interview published recently sought to justify his behaviour, and make further completely unsubstantiated allegations about Ms Michael. Unfortunately some of these remarks have been republished by the Standard, an action which has of course compounded the impact of the original, arguably defamatory allegations.

This interview, widely criticised for giving a convicted criminal the chance to cause further distress to his victim, has been the subject of at least one formal complaint to the Press Complaints Commission, and has been reported to the police and to the Crown Prosecution Service. 

The Barnet Press, incidentally, far from apologising for the ill judged interview with Coleman, published an editorial this week defending their actions - as well as some highly critical letters from residents objecting to the article. Apart from the fact that the writer clearly has no idea of the meaning of the word 'reactionary', it is a pretty shabby piece of journalism, in defence of an even shabbier one. (pic pinched from the Barnet Eye):

Coleman's latest idiotic blog, all about football (yes, really  ...) is largely in praise of Sir Alex Ferguson, "a Christian Gentleman of the first order and a man with a firm determination and a track record of achievement . A genuine "man's man" ... oh dear: but Mrs Angry notes with interest that Coleman makes an unusual reference to the Barnet Press - unusual in that he does not make any of his traditionally rude remarks about local newspapers, and appears to have a sudden new fund of knowledge of their relationship with Barnet Football Club. Clearly the Press is now back in favour.

The day after the Coleman interview was published, Helen Michael was targeted by an anonymous letter writer, who posted an accusatory and intimidating poster on the outside wall of Cafe Buzz.

Ms Michael :
We hope you are proud of yourself now.
There was no need to commit  perjury and pervert the course of justice to achieve your petty vendetta.
Why not use a civil lawsuit  instead.
Mr Coleman is not well liked  hence the verdict!
This is a sad day for British  justice -when there are real criminals out there.
The "case" was only a public  order issue
We won't be using your cafe any more nor will our friends.
Matter of principle, Remember - "What Goes Round Comes Round"
We are not friends of Brian  Coleman  -by the way.

Ms Michael, whose mother had died only days before, was of course deeply upset by this unwarranted and cowardly act, and reported it to the police, who have taken the matter very seriously, and their investigations are continuing - including the inspection of nearby CCTV cameras.

This bank holiday morning, however, the story took an even more bizarre turn of events.
Helen arrived back at her cafe this morning, having been there until 2 am, working frantically to finish the redecoration which is in process over the bank holiday period. To her astonishment, another anonymous letter, smaller in scale, but apparently from the same source, was stuck to the side of the cafe:

Buzz Cafe

Re: note left outside

Please accept our apologies,
it was misworded in error and the 
full facts were not known at the time

It was meant to read "Why waste 
police time and blow incident up 
out of proportion". There was no
threat implied whatsoever of
anything illegal. Apparently 
Brian Coleman admitted guilt and 
obviously acted irrationally and 
was prone to outbursts.  He seemed 
obviously unsuitable in character
for his office and should have 
resigned sooner.
There did appear to be an apparent "vendetta" against him but this
may be put down to press hysteria
and inaccurate Web gossip etc.

Again - an unreserved apology.

Well, well.

Nice to see a poison pen letter writer with good manners, and having the courtesy to apologise, isn't it?

Clearly our anonymous friend is, after all, capable of feeling remorse for his or her actions. That's good.

Oh: or ... 

Could it be, perhaps, that he or she is worried that the old bill is going to be knocking on his or her door? 

The tone of these letters is frankly bonkers, and would be comical if it were not for the clear intention of the first missive to upset the victim of an act of violence, and imply that some sort of reprisal would ensue for daring to report her assailant to the police.

Speaking to Mrs Angry this morning, Helen Michael was simply at a loss to know what to think of the latest turn of events.

Nice to get an apology, she commented ruefully ... but what's really behind it

Have the decency to say it to my face, whoever you are ...

Mrs Angry imagines that the person or persons targeting Helen Michael are unlikely to have the courage to do so. In the meanwhile, Councillor Coleman, by way of reparation for his assault, has only a few days left in which to pay his victim the compensation he owes her, as ordered by Judge Wright  ... see notice below:

The money is to be donated to Marie Cure Cancer Care, in memory of Helen's mother.

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