Jealous ex-lover torments Stevenage couple with devil worshipping posters nearly 30 years after relationship ended

Robert Townsend leaving Stevenage Magistrates' Court yesterday.

Robert Townsend leaving Stevenage Magistrates' Court yesterday. - Credit: Archant

A man falsely branded a devil worshiper on posters placed around Stevenage as part of a 29-year vendetta will have to wait a further six weeks before seeing justice served.

Townsend abused his victims for almost 30 years.

Townsend abused his victims for almost 30 years. - Credit: Archant

Magistrate Judy Howlett ruled on Tuesday that Robert Townsend will have to undergo a psychiatric assessment before he can be sentenced for two counts of religiously aggravated harassment without violence against former friend Glen Larkins.

Townsend, of Stirling Close, had placed the posters around Stevenage between February and April 2013 and again in April last year.

They invited people to come along to a sacrificial evening at St Nicholas Church’s graveyard in Rectory Lane and read: “When the church tower strikes midnight there will be a live rooster sacrifice and blood drinking in accordance with the Satanic Rites of our Great Lord Lucifer. This will be followed by fornicating fun for all the family.”

The posters named the master of ceremonies as Mr Larkins, gave his full address and called him ‘Britain’s number one onanist’ – an old-fashioned term for masturbation.

Robert Townsend will be sentenced on Tuesday, June 9.

Robert Townsend will be sentenced on Tuesday, June 9. - Credit: Archant

The police were alerted to these posters at the time and questioned Townsend, who denied everything.

Then in September posters appeared around Stevenage directed at Mr Larkins’ wife Jeannette saying she was offering naked cleaning services. Again her address was included.

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After the couple were alerted to the posters by the Comet, they contacted the police who arrested Townsend and searched his house and car. The 55-year-old initially denied everything but later pleaded to guilty when they uncovered 10 copies of the naked cleaning services posters in the boot of his car and a copy of the devil worship poster from a USB stick they found in his house.

A letter addressed to the editor of the Comet which invited people to come to the black magic ceremony was also discovered.

The abuse started in 1985 after Mrs Larkins left Townsend following a very brief relationship. Stevenage Magistrates’ Court heard how he couldn’t let go and decided to blame his former childhood friend Mr Larkins for the failed relationship.

Over the following three decades he sent numerous abusive letters to the Larkins and their parents’ houses.

Prosecuting, Lois Wray said: “One of these letters addressed to Mr Larkins’ parents was an invitation to swingers’ party which was signed under Mr Larkins’ nickname, Hegarty, something only Townsend knew.”

Chairman of the bench Ms Howlett said: “We are going to have to put this off for a further six weeks. In the mean time we are granting you bail on the conditions that you do not breach its conditions of not contacting Mr and Mrs Larkins.”

Townsend will be sentenced at the court on Tuesday, June 9.