Portsmouth has a problem

Below is the text of an e-mail I’ve sent to various parties. Specifically, Cees Buisman, Kitty Nijmeijer, Antoine Kemperman, Karel Keesman, Penny Mordaunt, Derek Dod and Stephen Morgan have never spoken with me. All the others have not only spoken with me but met me. (Come to think of it, I may have spoken with Antoine on the phone once. Not sure.)

Dear Lynne,

Please take note of this message because it concerns what I think are at least partly worrisome cultural issues within Portsmouth and I believe that you take those to heart.

As you may know, in 2018, a Scottish businessman was harassed out of Portsmouth when he and his young family were subjected to their own “Pizzagate”, in a “xenophobic campaign”, as the Sunday Times called it. The main perpetrator was living only a few blocks away from where I am now. (Links below.)

I too have been subjected to relentless harassment and sabotage in Portsmouth (including lots of lock-picking). I know of two other older female business owners who were also bothered in Portsmouth; their names are Audrey and Alice. One of them is not white and the other one is not from Portsmouth and has lived in the States.

I am a Dutch citizen from Amsterdam, who’s previously lived in the United States for a while. I have copied Paul Bates in because he has met me at a water management research program assessment. I have copied Mirthe van Kesteren in because she surely remembers me from when we both were based in Amsterdam; she has described me as very conscientious. More importantly, both are based in England. I am copying other addresses in for their information and also to impress the urgency of the matter on Portsmouth City Council; not all of these people actually know me.

I have met you a few times, Lynne, because I was on the Portsmouth Environmental Forum very briefly and was relieved to see you become just as frustrated by what went on there as I was. (Up to that point, I thought that I was dealing with typically British ongoings.) The forum folded shortly after.

I have an earth & life science background and became self-employed and VAT-registered in Amsterdam in 1997. I have been VAT-registered in England since the start of 2005. I’m also a Company Director. I have previously served as board member for the Environmental Chemistry (and Toxicology) Section of the Royal Netherlands Chemical Society (KNCV), as member of the board and of several committees for a Dutch foundation for women in science and technology (NIMF) and as associate editor for the US-based Geochemical Society.

I am also one of the 11 graduates of the PCC-sponsored community leadership course called Taking the Lead (2010, Abbie Eales). 

I have asked Gerald Vernon-Jackson for help with my situation several times, for example in 2019 after I came home to vandalism inside my flat again; this was a few months after an animal had been attacked with an angle grinder, just to spite me. (It was not the first time, of either.) I have been to the police multiple times, but stopped doing that years ago as it only made matters worse. I’ve also talked about this with my current landlord (your local version of Donald Trump); he doesn’t really care. I for example called him from the train station in 2016, while on my way to a client, and arranged to meet with him a week later; he never showed up.

I first asked now Lib Dem city councillor, then pub landlord Steve Pitt for advice with my situation in Portsmouth in May 2011. (I didn’t even know yet back then that my locks were getting picked and that they had been getting picked at my previous address, too; no animals had been attacked yet either and nothing in my home had been destroyed, stolen or otherwise interfered with yet.)

The reason I contacted Steve Pitt back then was that he had previously e-mailed me one day and told me to come see him if people were bothering me. In that e-mail he described what he looked like, but I knew who he was. I started going to his pub when I was still living in Southampton; I’ve taken a Dutch friend there too, when she stayed with me for a few days, in Southsea, in 2009. I received that e-mail after I moved from Southampton to Southsea. I was being bothered by anonymous people around me, but I didn’t see what that had to do with Steve Pitt.

This below is what he wrote back in 2011, which is good to see as it gels with my own feeling about my situation I do think that I’d remembered his response differently for some time; something else occurred later as a result of which I must have colored the memory more negatively. Sorry Steve, I didn’t know that I still had that e-mail; it popped up this morning when I searched for something else.

(The e-mail address no longer exists, which is why I haven’t redacted it.)

At that point, I was not able to leave because my income collapsed shortly after I moved to Portsmouth (which Steve Pitt knew) and I had already spoken with Hampshire Constabulary about this multiple times (which Steve Pitt did not know).

There was very active harassment at my address in Southsea, such as a slogan written on the wall with an arrow to my name that could be interpreted as incitement to rape and a bird’s head left and a peach cut into the shape of female genitals.

On one occasion, a police officer said to me that they weren’t going to talk to my neighbors to find out who was doing this to me as they didn’t want to go around β€œpointing fingers”. Instead, he said, Hampshire Constabulary would send a letter about the harassment to all addresses in Nightingale Road, where I was living at the time. I later found out that not only had this officer lied to me about this, to my face, he had also been painting me black behind my back, spreading (proven) lies about me, but also lying to others about the role of the police in all of this. Why? I discovered this by accident and verified some of it with a neighbor and with various other parties. (I may still have the officer’s name, but he’s probably a Captain Chief Constable by now.)

Unless you end up in hospital or in the morgue, or they worry about a PR nightmare, the police won’t do a thing.

I’ve had a bucket emptied over me after two lads greeted me first from a window above and all sorts of people have felt free to yell all sorts of abuse at me, some while grabbing their penis.

I don’t know what exactly is going on in Portsmouth that causes all of this, but I do know that there is a frightening level of misogyny as well as a great deal of gerontophobia. Throughout the UK, Portsmouth is also well known for its insularity, which translates into general grouchiness and hostility toward strangers.

Over the years, I have received several surveys from PCC about how to attract more businesses to Portsmouth and how to sell Portsmouth to the public at large. On several occasions, I have indicated that Portsmouth has very negative elements in its culture that need to be dealt with. Portsmouth is not at all sweet “Chichester-by-the-Sea” and trying to sell it as such is bound to backfire.

β€œBusinessman falsely branded a paedophile by online bully forced to close vape shop after losing Β£75,000 in trade | The News”


This BBC showcase reveals what he was like before he became attacked: https://youtu.be/9Q5KS_ytKCM

After he became attacked, he became depressed, didn’t want to venture out of his home any longer, developed physical health problems and had suicidal thoughts. He’s gone from Portsmouth now. His trademark is still valid for a few more years.

I too survived for a long time with a large stash of painkillers as my “emergency option”.

Feel free to share your opinion below, please.

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