A WOMAN has told how a neighbor she trusted to feed her cats was actually a “creepy stalker” who planted listening devices in her home.
William Nolan, 59, and his wife were given a key to neighbor Debbie Wearing-Jones’ house in Erdington, Birmingham, so they could feed their two cats while she was away.
Debbie, 64, was horrified to find a voice recorder tucked under her coffee table – and then another behind the headboard in her bedroom.
The widow became a detective and set up covert webcams to catch the villain who came for the recording kit.
The OAP detective also gently vacuumed her carpet in one direction to capture the snooper’s footprints.
As old Granny Debbie was viewing the footage, she caught Nolan at her house picking up the spyware recorders and called the police.
Former security guard Nolan admitted to stalking without fear, alarm or distress and was sentenced to 15 weeks in prison in Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on May 25, 2020.
The judge described the case as one of the most serious “stalking” offenses he had ever witnessed.
Brave Debbie – who is working to raise awareness of the seriousness of stalking – said: “I felt really hurt – Bill’s job is CCTV and security and things like that so that was worrying too.
“To this day I worry because I think if something else was planted there?
“I don’t know if that exists yet.
“I felt uncomfortable laying out my underwear in the garden just the thought of him watching.
“To me, there’s only one reason someone would attach a recording device to your headboard, and that’s for a sexual reason — something only a pervert would do.
“I want people to realize that you can’t trust anyone – after being neighbors for 30 years, being widowed and then he did this to me.”
The retired practice manager lived next to father of four and grandfather of two, Nolan, in Erdington, Birmingham for about 30 years.
“FRIENDLY NEIGHBORS” FOR 30 YEARS
They are “normal, friendly neighbors”, would talk regularly and trust each other.
“Actually, I’ve always been lucky to have him as a neighbor,” she said.
“It felt good to have long-term friendly neighbors that I could trust.
“It meant a lot to me to have this support network after being widowed.
“They were nice people too.
“His wife had always been the more talkative of the two, but Bill was a nice, polite man, if a bit shy.
“Of course I know differently now.”
Nolan had a spare key to Debbie’s house so his family could feed their cats, Bellamy and Sami, when she visited her partner in Nottingham, East Midlands, every week.
I felt totally hurt
“We spoke weekly — just neighboring things like how are we, how’s life, how are things in general,” she added.
“I felt like I could trust him with the keys to my house when I was out feeding my cats.”
She was having dinner at home with her 64-year-old partner when he found a black plastic box held in place by double-sided tape under the table on November 7, 2020.
She initially thought it might be one of her grandson’s toys, but after an internet search, she quickly discovered it was spyware.
It had a microphone and an on/off switch with a port where a USB cable could be plugged in to access the recorded audio.
Debbie said: “I was so upset and so panicked but my main concern was whether they were live hearing aids but we found out they were recorders.
“I felt totally hurt.
“Then we thought how did it get there? Who put it there? And the next thing we thought was, is there more?
“We took the pictures off the wall, turned the sofa upside down and looked in every conceivable place in the living room.”
They went upstairs to the bedroom and indeed found one behind the head of the bed.
She said: “We slept very little and figured whoever planted them must come back to get them so you can play them through the laptop.
“We thought we had to catch them.
“I really didn’t think Bill or his wife would do something like this, but I had to know for sure.”
The next day Debbie reported the discovery to West Midlands Police but was told that with no sign of entry she would need further evidence.
OAP becomes SLEUTH
Debbie then raced to the store to buy some cameras to try and catch the stalker.
She told Nolan’s wife that she would be out Thursday afternoon through Friday morning and left the house.
And just half an hour later, her male neighbor was caught frantically searching for his missing devices, as seen in the clip.
Debbie said of his return, “First thing I went upstairs and there were big footprints on the landing and by the bed, so I knew someone had come to look for the second device.”
The mother-of-one rewound the footage around 3pm on Thursday – when Nolan’s wife left to pick up their grandchildren from school – and filmed him on camera.
She said: “At 3.23pm I heard the front door open and caught him on camera.
“He went straight to the coffee table and I was like, ‘I got him.'”
Footage shows him frantically rummaging through the kitchen drawer and then briefly disappearing from the frame – to search for the device that was on her headboard.
She called her 32-year-old son to confront him.
She said: “I went next door and talked to them about it and he said ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’
“His wife said he might be looking for the cats, and I said, ‘What, under the coffee table?'”
Debbie called the police and submitted their evidence and they arrested William Nolan on December 18, 2020.
She said he initially claimed he was looking for the cats in the video footage.
TÄGER Pleads Guilty
But he pleaded guilty to the charges and was jailed in May 2021.
Judge David Wain described the case as one of the most serious “stalking” offenses he had ever seen, but criticized the CPS for the choice of charges, saying the decision severely limited his powers of judgment.
This meant the maximum sentence he could issue was 26 weeks, but he reduced it to 15 weeks due to Nolan’s guilty plea and personal mitigation.
The convicted stalker was ordered to pay £300 in damages and was barred from contacting his victim on an open-ended restraining order.
The judge said: “Putting one on the coffee table was bad enough, but putting one on her headboard understandably caused her the greatest distress imaginable.
“The security she felt in her own home was shattered.
“When she discovered the devices, she said she was hysterical that someone was trying to overhear her personal conversations.
“She had a stomach ache because of the one on the headboard. That is perfectly understandable.”
In mitigation, Pallo Bailey said his client’s wife remained “supportive” but added his behavior had “strained” their marriage.
Speaking of Nolan’s reduced sentence, brave Debbie said: “I was disappointed but very happy that he was sent down for such a sick act.
“Family and friends say it’s like something out of a crime book.
“Even the judge said he had never dealt with such a serious stalking case.
“I was widowed about two years ago and now have a new partner, so I don’t know if that had anything to do with what he was doing.
“Nowadays I ask my niece to feed my cats, if I’ve learned anything it’s that you just don’t know who to trust.
“It’s always better to be safe than sorry.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6351397/woman-trusted-neighbour-creep-stalker-bugged-home/ I trusted my neighbor to feed my cats – but he turned out to be a creep who did something horrible to my bed