My battle with the traditional, old-guard Establishment in Portsmouth and its ‘ndrangheta-style mindset

Code of conduct for councillors at Portsmouth City Council

For those of you heroes out there who would like to (continue to) support me, my old PayPal mail addresses should still work. My new PayPal.Me πŸ†” is @SourenAW

It remains the craziest story, in my view, but I was subjected to what often seemed fairly random yet targeted and mostly anonymous abuse in Portsmouth from just about the day I collected the keys to my flat in Southsea in early 2009.

It’s not just the silly, often amusing but also sometimes quite annoying and time-consuming, childish pranks that I am talking about. The fact that they gobble up so much time and attention makes them destructive or obstructive, but that likely isn’t their intention.aa

Something really sinister and destructive was going on, too.

I was over the moon when I moved from Southampton to Southsea. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. To have found such a wonderful place on the seashore! But everything turned very sour very quickly.

The abuse I was subjected to included a slogan on the wall of the building where I was living in Southsea, with an arrow to my name, a peach cut into the shape of female genitalia, and other things that seemed to be intended to convey that I was not welcome in Portsmouth. This, however, was childish stuff.

Later, there wasn’t only relentless but relatively harmless hacking.

There was also a lot of lock-picking, vandalism and deliberate sabotage and obstruction as well as sadistic animal cruelty and harassment from random people around me targeted at me, not to mention bizarre malicious gossip by people who had no idea who I was and who had never even spoken with me. There were very ugly lies in official documents, too, which I discovered by accident. Character assassination. Why?

A heck of a lot of really ugly stuff went on and it got increasingly out of hand. It took over my life.

What on earth was this?

Was this sadistic stalking, aka resentful stalking? Did it come from the community? Did it have something to do with a somewhat unhinged anonymous male, perhaps? Or merely neurodiversity?

Or was this mainly Portsmouth’s Establishment’s way of expressing that they didn’t like my activism, my fights against various injustices, my advocacy for random disadvantaged people’s violated rights?

Yes, certainly the latter was going on too as it turned out. Holy cow.

Keep reading.

There also seemed to have been well-intentioned people who tried to warn me, albeit in convoluted ways, about what was going on in the traditional Establishment in Portsmouth.

Portsmouth isn’t quite known for its sweet character, for sure. It’s based on a tiny island off the coast of South England and known throughout the UK for its extreme insularity. 24.5 square kilometers. Not even ten square miles. It’s known for its violence and extreme insularity (hostility). The consensus is that it’s one of Britain’s hardest, toughest, roughest towns and it’s even been called Britain’s hardest city. ITV made a documentary about it, within its “Britain’s toughest towns” series.

(Don’t get angry yet. Keep reading.)

Of course, not everyone in Portsmouth is violent or aggressive or corrupt or dishonest or like Portsmouth’s abundant grumpy grouches who whinge all day long.

There are sane, well-balanced people in Portsmouth. You can usually recognize them by the quality of their smile. You can tell that they feel secure in themselves and don’t feel threatened by you in any way. They’re genuine. Authentic. Lovely and lovable.

However, on 18 April 2023, a locally well-known real estate developer literally told me in person that he and Gerald Vernon-Jackson (the Lib Dem City Council leader) wanted me gone from Portsmouth.

Oh yes.

That’s unequivocally clear language. And it explained so much of what had been happening.

So there you have it. This was the main story, the real story, apparently. A very smelly sordid story of corruption, intimidation and retaliation.

A long and ugly story of added escalating abuse and deliberate sabotage that must have started (been added to the usual nonsense that goes on in Portsmouth) after I referred nurse Ruth Mbvundula to the City Council when the real estate developer refused to return her rent deposit, whereas she was very likely in fact entitled to up to three times her deposit, according to English law. I didn’t even know about the latter yet, back then. That was… in 2015 or thereabouts.

Or had this already kicked off in 2012 or 2013 after I, as a litigant in person, almost got a local “traditional solicitor” sued for professional negligence? (This concerned civil litigation to do with bad advice given to an estate agency and the estate agency having acted on it.) I know that this was talked about in local legal circles, so it probably also was discussed within the remainder of the Establishment in Portsmouth.

What’s more, when I left Portsmouth in April 2023, I received calls to do with the Torts (Interference with Goods Act) 1977 for a week. That’s what I had based that court case on.

The origin of the calls? 023 9281 7648, a number given to me by a Mr Andy Smith. That cost me about Β£100, because they made a prank appointment that caused me to have to cancel a trip and book another night at a hotel, paid for by someone in the Netherlands.

If I hadn’t settled that case (a claim for over Β£70,000 worth of damages, which I myself had brought before the courts; I wasn’t being sued, to be clear), that solicitor would have been toast because the law suit against the solicitor had already been added onto my case by others. There was clear relief when I agreed to the settlement. The solicitor in question was so shocked and so markedly subdued at the time that I could not help but notice and feel sorry for the person.

For the record, I did later readjust the total of my claim down to a little under Β£40,000, for reasonable reasons. Also for the record, about half of the settlement sum was paid by said solicitor.

Many solicitors don’t apply or even appear to know the law – English law – and prefer issuing intimidating statements instead. They assume that this will make the poor and the plebs shiver in fear – and that the poor and the plebs won’t even know it if their English legal rights are being violated and will simply meekly roll over.

That’s not my fault.

As I mentioned at the time, I felt strongly that what had happened also caused unnecessary damages for a certain Navy woman, which provided added motivation for me. In addition, I hoped that it would help protect others in the future, too.

In the end, the conversation was solely between the lawyers for two insurance companies and myself.

(I liked that barrister from London, btw. Very professional. Courteous, too.)

The Navy woman was fully compensated for her damages because I made sure that she was. My settlement paid for this, too, with about half of the settlement still left for me. In hindsight, I should have left Portsmouth shortly after, as I also received a relatively small but very nice inheritance after an aunt’s passing. That I didn’t is fully on me. Live and learn. I could never have imagined a town operating the way Portsmouth does because I had never before encountered anything resembling this.

Yes, I can finally talk about all of this openly now. The estate agency in question was acquired by a bigger outfit and no longer exists. (By the way, Churchers discouraged me from starting that lawsuit, but Biscoes encouraged me. Hats off to Biscoes. I also spoke with Shelter and others.)

Did all of this cause the city council leader to assume that I had to be learning-disabled? Surely not.

In fact, he and I both used to be affiliated with the same Russell Group university (British Ivy League), for anyone who does not know that, except my affiliation was at a higher level and more recent. So he gets to have a life whereas I am supposed to be obediently stuck in poverty, keep my mouth shut and fill my life with sleeping a lot, watching YouTube videos and reading library books? FFS. No way, Jose. Unh unh.

So, keep reading…

Let me introduce this real estate developer, first. He goes by the name Grant Murphy and also serves as a landlord. He is “Pompey born and bred”as it is called. By way of illustration, I have heard the following said within the context of this guy: “So and so went to primary school with Grant. He would never betray him.” (I haven’t got the foggiest idea what this was about, what kind of betrayal we would be talking about. The statement was volunteered by one of this guy’s staff one day.)

  • In 2016 (after an ice cream incident affecting the tenants in the ground floor flat, which coincided with lock-picking of my flat), I made an appointment with the real estate developer over the phone, from Fratton station, on my way to a client for a research program assessment. I followed it up with emails. Over the phone, the real estate developer said that it was just kids who were doing this and to go talk with the MP if local police wouldn’t act. He never showed up for the appointment. I waited for an hour.
  • In 2019, I had a meeting with the city council leader after I had come home to vandalism inside my flat again. A WUR professor called him on my behalf. I contacted him too. I was astonished that the city council leader didn’t want to talk at all about what was going on in my flat all the time but instead kept calling me vulnerable and said that he himself was dyslexic.
  • This was just a few months after an angle grinder had been used to cut into a bird’s neck. See images below. It had happened before. One animal had even been interfered with in my flat while I was out. Yes, I informed the city council leader of this too. Was he really fully okay with that? I had a hard time believing it.
  • I should add that, by that point, I think there had already been multiple failed (legally flawed) attempts to evict me (by said real estate developer), but the hostilities directed towards me in Portsmouth had already been happening at my previous address, too. So I really did not think that the real estate developer was behind notably the vandalism. It was a geologist in Amsterdam who brought up the possibility that it was. I thought that it couldn’t possibly be the case. It all seemed a little too bonkers for that.
  • At the time, I did suspect that the real estate developer and the city council leader were buddies, however, because each of them made remarks about the other that did not add up. I kept my thoughts to myself.
  • About half a year after I met with the city council leader, someone repeatedly started transferring my electricity account. Who? I often could not reach the company in question at all, once I found out which company it was.
    (Yes, I informed the city council leader of this.) (One person who could have done it was the real estate developer, of course.)
  • One of the real estate developer’s advisers and close associates is a former magistrate judge, law firm partner and solicitor who went to prison for three years after a BBC South undercover sting operation caught him in the act of perverting the course of justice and trying to interfere with police investigations. This person used to represent the real estate developer openly and initially was my main contact person but he meanwhile has retreated to the background for what appear to be cosmetic purposes.
  • Said real estate developer appeared to be working hand in hand with specific city council staff if smart and capable (hence perceived as far too gobby) tenants relied on housing benefits (huursubsidie), for example, in order to get their housing benefits halted or ceased to get the tenants to move out or get into arrears. On one occasion, I told the real estate developer’s staff that I would be going to the Civic Offices next. Some guy was hanging around behind the counter, doing nothing else but eavesdrop. I have seen that same guy pop up several times since. I never got to identify him. The pandemic, with the Civic Offices closed for 2.5 years, provided ample opportunity to mess with people’s housing benefits because those powerless people couldn’t stop by to sort matters out.
  • Said real estate developer also appeared to deploy other tenants in attempts to drive smart, gobby tenants such as myself out, in all sorts of ways. Problem tenants would be moved in and take instructions. Instructions appeared to include causing persistent low-decibel nightly noise disturbances, displaying threatening behaviours towards and making fake complaints about smart, gobby tenants. The tenant after Ruth Mbvundula, his flat got entered when he was out by someone who lived or parked around the corner. During his tenancy, mice started moving in. The tenant after that turned out to have an extensive prison record and started a garbage pile in the bathroom, the spaces under and around the bath being major conduits for mice. The tenant after that caused noise disturbances that I circumvented by either sleeping on the floor of my office or by using white noise. He occasionally displayed threatening behaviors, his dog bit me, and during his tenancy mice moved in again and they lived at his place; I found a dead one tucked into my dirty laundry one day. He was a major asshole, but extremely insecure underneath as his dog was perfectly well-behaved without the owner’s negative vibes. After that, a group of foreign tenants moved in who behaved as if they were running a drugs operation and displayed in very negative behaviors toward me. I reported my observations to the police including one of the many different cars’ registration details. (Thanks, Grant Murphy, for quickly confirming most of that too on 18 April 2023.)
  • Letters sent by tenants by special delivery or otherwise recorded would usually simply be ignored.
  • Appointments made tor technical reasons would occasionally be ignored, with people showing up on the wrong day, followed by an email about the tenant having refused entry to for example an electrician.
  • This was, in one case, followed up by then not one but three men showing up, two of which inspected the electricity. I never received the certificate that this was supposedly for. I had offered to engage an electrician of my own choosing. (When I called that person, he oddly enough said that there was nothing to be afraid of. Huh?!)
  • Real estate developer would sometimes show up unannounced and demand entry to a tenant’s flat.
  • What also happened was that an electrician showed up to replace a broken meter, who accidentally stepped off his stool just as I was passing behind him while he was on the phone. The odd thing, however, is that he also more or less told me to behave… (or else, what? the meter would break again?) He gave me some kind of warning, but I had no idea what he meant.
  • Mold and paint flaking problems were openly attributed to tenants, such as their use of a dryer, whereas real estate developer’s staff use of inappropriate paints was the real cause.
  • Tenants’ deposits were not registered; however, a statement claiming that the deposit had been registered with mydeposits (and asking tenants to pay for this registration through a deduction applied to the deposit later) would be included with the tenancy agreement, which was an odd combination of at least two different agreements. It appears that this deposit registration issue was possibly addressed later by informing tenants that their agreements were invalid, and then registering the deposits at the start of the new agreement.
  • Real estate developer changed bank account number without informing me and, later, office address without informing me. The new offices turned out to be located in premises without doorbell and without letterbox, effectively shutting down communication.
  • Possibly, rubbish dumping might occasionally be started deliberately too and even encouraged? I first addressed the illegal rubbish dumps issue in 2015 or 2016, got rid of some of the mess and then raised the issue with Ms Esther Smith at the real estate developer’s offices. In 2018, Hampshire Fire & Rescue interfered, and cooperated with the owner of adjacent properties to address the problem. In 2020, Hampshire Fire & Rescue asked for landlord details and then contacted the Health and Environmental dept at Portsmouth City Council. PCC did not follow up, however, and once again, I started tackling the issue myself. I purchased signs, got rid of part of the rubbish, and the PCC bin men who weren’t happy with the mess either apparently had some dumped furniture removed from the adjacent patio. There are three to five illegal dump sites, three of which are on tenants’ patio areas. By far the biggest is the responsibility of this particular real estate developer. It was started after the police apparently interfered in drugs-related activities that were taking place in the front building. Copies of photos and emails were also forwarded to the real estate developer as well as to the City Council leader, including hand-delivered to his home address to avoid possible interference at the Civic Offices, with certainly no response from the city council leader whatsoever. This concerned a lot more material than what you see in the images below. See also this post.
  • (Etc.)
  • After 18 April 2023, I had and received quite a few “nah nah nah nah nah” calls with and from the real estate developer’s office, among other things telling me that they were “good people“. (This concerned a person who said that her name was Sarah.) After having been unable to reach them for a few days, I cancelled my ticket and book another night at a hotel , when they finally got back to me and made an appointment. I showed up. Nobody there. I called them and was told that they would send Dave over. He didn’t show. I left. These calls continued for a while, even when I was already out of the country, which they surely knew.
    As I mentioned above, all of this had to do with the legislation on which I had based my lawsuit against the estate agency, which risked wiping the rug out from under a local traditional solicitor. They were rubbing it in, weren’t they. That now does make it look like Portsmouth traditional Establishment decided to take revenge, doesn’t it?
    That firmly seems to underline the reason for how my life was sabotaged for so long.
  • Do I need to mention the underwear that disappeared from my suitcase in April too, Grant, Andy and Dave? My cheap plain white and pretty lace- and embroidery-adorned undies? Do your wives know about this? Is that why you were going on about me supposedly – not! – having accused your meek little string puppet Dave of wanting to RAPE me, Grant Murphy? Really. However, you didn’t for example grab my Jody Jazz mouthpiece from my suitcase, you clueless idiot, and Primark had plenty more cheap underwear. Besides, one of the packing cubes already contained underwear. You guys pictured me being forced to wear soiled underwear for days, didn’t you. Really. You’re like a bunch of toddlers who throw their toys out of the pram when you don’t get your way, but unfortunately you’re also highly predatory, fairly violent folks and you exploit some of the poor to do your dirty deeds for you.

And the city council leader knew about it… ?!

He knew what was going on?

Oh yeah, he either knew about the vandalism and the lockpicking and the rest because he knew that his buddy was behind it or he suspected as much.

My my.

I never saw that coming. For years, I actually voted in favor of this Lib Dem guy. Then (after the Brexit referendum) I began to notice that perhaps everything wasn’t quite what it seemed within the local Lib Dems and I switched to the Green Party. However, I never expected as much filth to be going on as was eventually revealed. Holy cow. His ranting and raving against Donald Trump’s visit a few years ago was so convincing.

Then again, shortly after, Gerald Vernon-Jackson announced that the poor could be helped by giving them richer folks’ discarded white goods. That’s akin to offering them moldy bread. A proverbially blind person can see that, but the Lib Dem leader of Portsmouth City Council doesn’t? Holy cow.

It’s actually often ruthless, callous and utterly narrow-minded people like Vernon-Jackson’s pal Grant Murphy who push people into poverty and keep them trapped in it.

That’s real food for thought, isn’t it?

Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson, a Liberal Democrat, said: β€˜This is part of what we’re trying to do to confront poverty and find ways to help people who are having a difficult time financially.

What England’s poor need is a government that ensures that everyone’s income is able to cover people’s basic costs. It is really that simple.

Had Vernon-Jackson suggested that he was going to support a not-for-profit buyers’club that would give people the power to purchase larger numbers at lower prices and likely sell without having to charge VAT, he might have sounded like a modern, 21-st century, forward-looking visionary.

Unfortunately, Gerald Vernon-Jackson seems to see poor people as flawed. He seems to consider them pesky vermin. He does not want to empower them; he merely seems to want to be seen as “doing something for the poor”.

Gerald Vernon-Jackson, as far as I can tell, you have no ethical values left whatsoever. You’re a Tory operating under the Lib Dem brand. One day, that’s going to blow up, out of your control, for example after a BBC sting operation. That is how these things tend to go. However, I know that you don’t have my pretty underwear. So there’s that, at least.

I have gotten to know Portsmouth as a place that is, on the one hand, governed by ruthless financial greed, rampant misogyny, the hunger for absolute power as well as the associated corruption and urge to intimidate and retaliate and as a result of that, on the other hand, a great deal of misery, hurt, anger, frustration and powerlessness, not to mention deep poverty and – of course – fear.

There was so much fear in Portsmouth that the anonymous people who tried to warn me, who also try to keep each other from drowning in the establishment’s stinking filth, couldn’t afford to say anything out loud to me, thus often managing to make their warnings about what was going on in the establishment sound like sinister threats toward me instead.

As you can tell by the “ten years” remark, I was still completely clueless at the time as to what exactly was going on. I thought that this was random locals.

Apparently, the reason I got ignored by the establishment (which I had misinterpreted) was that I was upsetting the local apple carts of power and so these good folks wanted me gone. Oh, oh, that damned English class system with its oh so silly but oh so whopping power distances. Such a sordid mess. Ugh.

Yes, I got burned pretty badly. Isn’t that the right expression for my experience? I got burned in all sorts of ways. There still aren’t warning signs at the entrance roads to Portsea Island. How else is anyone to know that this little enclave off the coast of England has its own rules and its own peculiar ways of enforcing them?

Apparently, one of those rules was that reading library books and watching YouTube videos should be the only thing that a woman like me should strive for? 


Me in Portsmouth, in early 2011, receiving a course certificate from the mayor, for an NCFE-accredited course in community leadership. Including about how democracy s supposed to work in practice. Sponsored by Portsmouth City Council. Lib Dem City Councillor Steve Pitt had wanted to be on that course too.

Earlier, I had been a member of the Portsmouth Environmental Forum, established and supported by Portsmouth City Council, from shortly after I moved to Portsmouth until the Forum ceased to exist. Lib Dem City Councillors Lynne Stagg and Darren Sanders were also members.

I’m highly educated, highly intelligent, highly capable and a little bit of an activist, the latter with the blessing of Portsmouth City Council, in fact, as you can see in the above captioned photo.

So I disagreed, big time, and rightfully so.

Perseverance usually pays off for me. In Portsmouth, it didn’t. I knew that I had to get away, and salvage what was left of my life.

I had clearly upset the apple carts of the local traditional Establishment, was perceived as having offended against the English class system and its boundaries and limits.

I feel so sorry for all the good and kind and loving souls in Portsmouth who are usually misunderstood and undoubtedly often mocked, but it’s not within my power to rescue them.

I will continue to fight for justice and stand up for disadvantaged people whenever I can. I may seek to professionalize this, actually, in the style of Peter Thatchell or perhaps Chris Packham’s. Time will tell.

I have other ideas on my mind too. Now that I am no longer being actively obstructed, I have an abundance of freedom, options and opportunities in front of me.
The above e-mail address is no longer in use, which is why I haven’t redacted this screenshot. At this point, the nonsense was all still mainly coming from random people around me as far as I know

This website is currently still in a minor state of disarray and several of its posts and pages do not reflect the ugly reality yet that was revealed to me on 18 April 2023 when I was advised to leave the city… 

I don’t know yet when I will get around to amending the content on this website so that it reflects reality more closely. I may actually leave the posts the way they are and only amend pages.



There was a little bit more to the story of my experiences in Portsmouth, in the sense that someone’s neurodiversity seemed to play a role as well. That is still true too, yes. Some stuff that went on in my life certainly wasn’t Grant Murphy’s doing, in my humble opinion, or Gerald Vernon-Jackson’s for that matter. As far as I could tell, I had been dealing with some kind of Jekyll & Hyde hacker personality from around the time that I moved to Portsmouth.

Who this was? How would I know? Unless you have a live video feed in which you can see someone do things in and to your equipment in real time, it’s impossible to tell. It often appeared to be young people who were working at local providers; at other times, it seemed to be someone who appeared to be living in Winchester Road or not even in Portsmouth.

Did I want to work in Portsmouth?

    • Did I want to work in an environment where I would constantly be treated like a misbehaving toddler who was not even capable of tying her own shoelaces just because I was a female and over 45?

    • Did I want to work in an environment where I might have to worry all the time whether someone had dumped something nasty (urine, for example) in my coffee if I looked away for a minute?

    • Did I want to work in an environment where people around me would make loud derogatory comments behind me when I happened to be physically unwell?

    • Did I want to work in an environment where so many people would rejoice in seeing me miserable and even seek to render me miserable?

    • Did I want to work in an environment where other strangers would keep intimidating me with their “shut up or else” nonsense? Hell, no. Or else? Or else, what? You’re gonna torch my home with me in it? What?
      (I guess I know what “what” is now.)

    • Did I want to work in an environment where I would often be accosted by random supermarket staff, or disgustingly predatory public library staff looking for juicy gossip, and get yelled at by strangers on the sidewalk, with or without grabbing their penis??

    • Did I want to work in an environment where strangers even created deepfake porn clips with my face in it? Emptied a bucket over me? Wrote a nasty slogan on the wall with an arrow to my name, after I had only just moved to Portsmouth, and all the rest?

Portsmouth is a town where anyone – say, one of Grant Murphy’s many powerless lackeys – might suddenly drop their trousers, hunker down and proudly defecate in a street and hurl their excrement at you and where any male might cut their trousers from behind and prance around without underwear just because they think that the sight of their bare balls might shock any female or grab your underwear from your suitcase. Sure. That will show ‘m. Booyah for being such mature grownups, y’all.

Strangers in Portsmouth actually cooked up so much bizarre gossip about me that they completely lost track of what was made-up bullshit and what was not.

Portsmouth welcomed me with hostility. The housewarming party to which I was going to invite my neighbors in Southsea never even stood a chance of taking place. Over the years, things only got uglier. I never actually got to know anyone in Portsmouth, did I?

There is no place for independent professional women in Portsmouth. As soon as that finally dawned on me – which must have been in 2015, roughly – the main thing that I still wanted was to get out of Portsmouth. I looked for earning opportunities that literally might help me survive or that would enable me to escape and swiftly rebuild my life elsewhere. I made four attempts to get away from Portsmouth; then the pandemic struck. I was biding my time. It was extremely clear that that there was no room for me in Portsmouth, no operating space, no breathing space, nothing much other than loads of contempt from people who didn’t know me, in addition to the kindness of powerless souls.

During my last year in Portsmouth, I focused as much as possible on restoring my physical health to the extent that I could and on learning how to generate new income that would not depend on whether locals or anyone else thought that I was like a naughty and oh so silly three-year old merely because I was over 45 years old, female and claiming to be well educated and still have a fine and perfectly working brain in spite of my extremely advanced age. (Duh.)

I gave neither a toss nor a rat’s ass as to what conclusions Gerald Vernon-Jackson and Grant Murphy might drew on the basis of that. It never even occurred to me that these two as well – like so many others in the town – spent so much of their time obsessing over me and making up gossip about me. It’s pretty pathetic, isn’t it.

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