Spurned lover "filled ex's hair conditioner bottle with poison" court told

Aidan Campbell, 36, denies a campaign of harassment against his former partner, including burglary, criminal damage and administering a poison

Aiden Campbell (pictured centre in light grey suit) leaving Newcastle Crown Court
Aiden Campbell (pictured centre in light grey suit) leaving Newcastle Crown Court

A spurned lover stalked, stole from and eventually tried to poison a Greggs worker, a court has heard.

Window fitter and builder Aidan Campbell, 36, mounted a campaign of harassment against Julie Clark, which included scratching her car, smearing dog dirt on her car door handle, stealing a CCTV camera from her home, and putting ammonia in her hair conditioner, a jury at Newcastle Crown Court was told.

But businessman Campbell, of Cypress Gardens, Blyth, denies the harassment, criminal damage, burglary and administering a poison.

In a separate court case last October, Campbell was convicted of assault and harrassment against Ms Clark following their split.

Summing up the new case to the jury at Newcastle Crown Court, Judge Deborah Sherwin said Campbell had been made subject to a restraining order after using a copied key to break into his former lover’s home last August.

The jury of seven men and five women were told that he had gone round to her house and left her flowers, wine and chocolates in a bid to win her back, while on another occasion he pinned her down on her bed by the shoulders and shouted in her face.

The restraining order prevented him from making contact with her, but within a week of his conviction she feared he was harassing her again, the court heard.

On October 21, Ms Clark believed a white convertible car, similar to that owned by Campbell’s mother, was following her, while colleagues at Greggs Blyth store received a call from a pay phone in Cramlington trying to ascertain her whereabouts.

Campbell then walked into the bakery firm’s Northumberland Street store, where Ms Clark was working on a three month secondment.

However, the jury heard from a witness that at the time Ms Clark said she was being followed Campbell was working on a house in St Peter’s Basin, more than two miles away.

The following day she found dog dirt had been caked, 2cm to 3cm thick, on the inside of her car’s driver’s side door handle - but no other cars had been targeted in her street.

The next month she came home to a singed smell and found her hair straighteners turned on atop her pyjamas on her bed - though she had not left them there, the court heard.

In December, she had a colleague follow Campbell after she saw him staring at her through the window of the Blyth Greggs outlet, the court heard.

He was seen walking towards the car park where her vehicle was left, the jury was told, and Ms Clark later found it had been scratched with a key.

On Christmas Day, her car tyres were slashed, which upset her young daughter, then in the new year, after having a friend’s husband install a CCTV camera and a monitor inside her house to catch whoever it was who was breaking in, it was stolen, but valuables were left untouched, the court heard.

And the next time she washed her hair and used her conditioner she felt a stinging sensation on her hands. She washed it off and took the bottle to a barbers, where a staff member sniffed it and reported it smelled of ammonia.

Miss Clark informed the police, who were already investigating previous complaints, and the contents of the bottle were tested - revealing the conditioner, which was usually slightly acidic, had turned to an alkaline. The jury was told the ammonia could cause irritation to the skin, eyes and throat.

Campbell was arrested repeatedly during the three month period of the alleged harassment, but denied responsibility and on each occasion police could find no physical evident that he had been involved in any of the alleged incidents.

However his probation officer described him as “deeply selfish and manipulative” and he told her he had a “short fuse”, the court heard.

Tom Finch, defending, said the case which his client denies had had “a substantial adverse effect” on Campbell.

“He has lost his business,” he said. “He has had to move out of the area.

“The only safe and proper verdict on this evidence you can return is one of not guilty.”

The jury deliberated for an hour this afternoon, but could not agree unanimous verdicts on any of the charges. The case was adjourned until tomorrow.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer