Thursday, May 10, 2012

Musings about New Zealand police priorities (stalker saga reflections)

I've written about my unfortunate experience of client turning into a seriously deranged stalker here
I pretty much let the whole thing go, as I realised that police would do nothing about it unless my cold dead body is found somewhere. I am not being melodramatic-this is what I was told by the police.
However, an incident that happened last night had me thinking about the whole affair again.
Let me sketch a background to the story.
Just after Christchurch earthquake I've made a decision to live half in New Zealand and half in Australia. That meant that I was not physically present in my apartment in NZ for six months out of the year.
I am a realist and hated to waste all that money (as it is I am paying two rents year around: one in NZ and one in Melbourne).
So I've decided to curb the costs by going into a flat share. Back then I lived in Wellington and for number of reasons wanted to be on Mt.Victoria, which is highly sought after area and getting a place in there is not easy.
I found a flat that was Ok-ish: it was old and not insulated, carpet was very old (over 20 years for sure) and it stunk of cat pee,as the main tenant (woman named Sophia) had 2 cats.
But it suited my basic requirements and I wasn't going to spend much time in there,as I travel a lot for work even when I am in New Zealand. So I signed up.
It was all good in the beginning There were three of us sharing the place: Sophia,myself and a guy whom I hardly ever saw and never heard-he was that quiet.
Sophia was a lady from US ( she was born elsewhere, but US is where she spent most of her formative years and her 20's). She said she was an actress (as I found out later she was,indeed, albeit not very good or successful one,though-she never seem to have a steady job or even trickling stream of roles) who constantly complained about not having any money.
Sophia talked to me about some horrible ex-flatmates she'd had and tried to become my BFF (best friends forever for those who doesn't know this abbreviation) straight away.
Although I had nothing against her, I've made it very clear that I prefer my own company most of the time and really don't want to socialise. Sophia assured me that it was fine.
But that was just the thing with Sophia: she did what she wanted anyway, constantly pushing the envelope and looking for angles.
Sophia is all about Sophia: self-serving,quite manipulative and very conniving.
I didn't want to be rude (it's good to be friendly with your flatmates when you're gone for weeks at a time and your room doesn't have a lock), so despite my original request for privacy, Sophia would come into my room and start conversations that went for over an hour sometimes. Every time I tried to wrap it up, she'd say "Yeah,yeah, just one more quick thing" and on it went..
She tried to get me to do her nails (I am a nail tech, but don't do any one's but mine these days) "at cost" (meaning she wanted to pay for the product only, NOT my time)-it took some effort to let her drop it-she just won't take "No" for an answer.
She had me do some minor errands for her. That's why she wanted to be "friends"-so she could ask for favors, as "friends" do.
I told her she could come into my room when I was away and borrow my clothes and drive my car. I didn't have a problem with that. I should have known that you can't do it with people like Sophia: give her an inch, she'll take a yard.
When I got home from being overseas for 2 months once, it was obvious that someone was staying in my room. First of all, someone's laptop and other things were on my dresser, the bed was messed up and certain decor items were moved around,as if "out of the way".
I have paid Sophia full rent for 2 months in advance before I left AND I texted her a day prior to me coming back asking to free up a refrigerator shelf for me, so,as you can imagine, I was more than a little unhappy with the state of affairs as I found them. Not only Sophia let someone stay in my room without asking me, she didn't even bother covering it up or tidying up my room (I always leave my room clean and immaculate when I go away,as I like to come back to organised,orderly environment).
Besides, I had a lot of personal information stored there and didn't like the idea of some stranger going through my things.
When I confronted Sophia, she made up some bullshit story about a friend "just leaving her stuff there" while she went to South Island. I've met the girl in question briefly just before I left and clearly recalled her saying that she had to leave her flat in a week's time and had no place to stay... So, I guess, Sophia offered her my room,as they were trying to make some movie together.
I actually wouldn't mind, probably, if Sophia ASKED me AND given me some rent credit. Also I would expect the room to be cleaned and everything restored to the original order for my return.
But she did none of that: just went with what she wanted to do.
That was pretty much the "straw that broke camel's back".
Things deteriorated rapidly after that. Sophia would go away for days at a time, leaving her cats to pee and poop everywhere (like on the doorstep of my room).
Every inch of that flat was filled with Sophia's stuff (she is a hoarder)...
Carpet stunk worse and worse.
I also have to point out that flat was actually 2 bedroom, but Sophia moved into what was meant to be a lounge. This way each of us had our own room and we had no common space except bathroom and kitchen. That suited me fine,actually, BUT... It was clear that Sophia is taking advantage of  myself and the other tenant by charging us most of the  rent and paying nothing or next to nothing herself (she never did show me the original lease for the flat, signed by landlord/owner).
Sophia wasn't big on cleaning,either,claiming neck problems..
I started looking for another place. Plenty were available, but none really suited all my needs/requirements. Besides, I didn't want to go from one bad situation to another.
So I went back to Melbourne undecided as to what to do.
As luck would have it, one of my Auckland friend's flatmate suddenly gave a notice and he offered me her space. I accepted gladly,as it was much better situation for me: beautiful house with not a trace of cat pee,located close to CBD. My friend and I have a lot in common and get along splendidly.
So I've made a decision to move as soon as I got back to NZ.

When I talked to one of Sophia's ex-flatmates (chance meeting) she described Sophia just as I have perceived her: manipulative,pushy,self-centered. She also said that Sophia has not returned her bond when she moved out (3 weeks rent).
Sophia is also a demagogue (she's been in and out of therapy for the most of her life and knows a lot of psychological tricks,key phrases,etc) and wants to discuss things till the kingdom come just to get her way.
Example: her poor boyfriend tried to break up with her at least a dozen times and just couldn't (he is a nice guy) because she would say things like "I don't accept it", "You feel this way because of your own problems and you project it on our relationship",etc,etc. She would draw him into really lengthy discussions or simply just go over his place (despite him saying "I don't want you to come over") and go to bed or lure him into having sex with her.
Her boyfriend of two years prior to that told her it was over at the airport,as she was getting on the plane back to US (he lived in Australia), told her NOT to come back , moved his new girlfriend into his house, yet Sophia DID go back and stayed in his house along with that other woman! She is like a bad decease: you can't get rid of her. That other guy simply boxed her stuff and shipped it to NZ when Sophia had to leave (visa requirements) thus ensuring she won't have any reason to set foot in his house again.
In view of all that I've decided to move out quietly, just taking my clothes and some personal things. I would let Sophia keep 2 weeks worse of security bond and my furniture,furnishings and decor items (none of that was very expensive and I value my sanity and well-being above all else). This way I didn't have to talk to Sophia and get dragged into one of her endless discussions. She was coming out of the deal better than when she went in: 2 weeks rent to pocket,fully furnished and decorated room which she could rent at even higher price. She probably had 3 dozen candidates before I even reached Levine.
I've left the key and the note taped to the door saying that I've moved out and took everything I wanted with me, the rest was hers.
However, in my haste, I accidently forgot a package of intimate female products. It was a very unique and specific product, not available in NZ or Australia. I brought ample supply of it with me from US. Sophia asked me about those once and was very keen to get some. I gave her one.
I had a couple of those "Instead" cups in my purse, so it wasn't until 2 months later that I've realised that I forgot my entire supply in a drawer in Sophia's flat in Wellington.
I immediately searched online, and to my chagrin, found out that,although the product IS available for sale on multiple sites, no one, and I mean NO ONE would ship to either NZ or Australia.
I've texted Sophia, requesting that she mailed me my "instead" cups (the product in question) and told her I would pay for shipping.
Well, Sophia decided to be her bitchy self: she claimed that she "didn't have them" and she "cleaned out my room". Please note vague terminology: she didn't say "I threw them away", which would be an outright lie and she is too clever for that.
I replied saying I found it hard to believe she threw my stuff away, knowing her propensity for hoarding and,again, asked for my cups to be shipped to me.
Sophia didn't reply until the next day, saying that she "donated my stuff to Salvation Army in Newtown". I had to laugh. "Are you seriously telling me that you donated intimate feminine menstrual product to salvation Army?" I asked. I told her I remembered that she really liked my "insteads" and wanted some. I also told her not to let things get ugly and to ship my cups to me.
Sophia and I were flatmates for a year, during which period she witnessed me utilising Dispute Tribunal and Court system to settle my claims/disputes with people. Yes, things got very unpleasant or "ugly" sometimes during these processes (like when court required that my ex was served with papers in person at her work place). So Sophia knew EXACTLY what I meant when I said that.
That was last week. I've never heard from Sophia and I knew she wouldn't return my cups out of spite, so I didn't contact her anymore.
Instead, I dug into the world wide web some more and came up with even better product that IS available in both NZ and Australia. In my mind the issue was settled.
Imagine my surprise when I received a phone call from a police officer last night. He said he was calling from Wellington Central police department and he had Sophia there in tears, "very concerned". "Concerned about what?" I asked "And what does it have to do with me?". Carl (police officer) proceeded to tell me that the text I sent her "wasn't very nice" and he is giving me a warning and is verbally "trespassing" me from Sophia's property for 2 years. Carl sounded somewhat threatening and he told me I would be arrested (!!) if I would come near Sophia's flat in Wellington.

Right...Few issues I have with this.
Yes, it is Carl's job to INVESTIGATE a claim made by an alleged victim. However, he did not "investigate" anything: he did not ask for my side of the story, he didn't even asked what I meant by "not let things get ugly". I also doubt he asked Sophia what she does for a living (she is an ACTRESS,remember). He simply made on the spot assessment of the situation based on some neurotic drama queen's unsubstantiated claim and interpretation. He felt it was necessary to go as far as "trespass" me over the phone... All over what essentially boils down to two girls arguing over a pack of tampons,really.
However, when I walked into a police station in Napier (and later into Wellington Central) trying to file a complaint about a person who was a KNOWN, DOCUMENTED stalker, person who was previously arrested, person who broke into my house on numerous occasions,person whom other people testified of seeing spying on me, person who obtained a LOT of my personal information (including my hand-written suicide note and my personal bank account details), police didn't even want to file the claim at ALL at first and later,after they grudgingly did so, told me that I would have to serve the trespass notice on him MYSELF IN PERSON. I was told that to be of legal force, trespass notice cannot be mailed or served by anyone other than myself. No one offered to call the guy and "trespass" him for me.
Go figure...

I did ask Carl,the police officer, how NZ police makes that executive decision of whom to award full help and protection available and whom to dismiss and he had no answer.

Needless to say, I wasn't a happy camper. In fact, it took few glasses of wine and a lot of "calm down" talk from my flatmate before I relaxed.

Something really special,beautiful and amazing did come out of this (totally unrelated to police,NZ or my flatmate), but that's another story :)

1 comment:

  1. Are you sure police officer Carl was a real cop? Sofia sounds like the sort of person who would get someone to make a fake call.