Anti-vaxxer breathed in family’s faces during Covid pandemic

An anti-vaxxer bombarded his ex-wife with propaganda and breached lockdown rules to breath in his family’s faces.

Lester James Manners harassed his wife of 23 years on several occasions between May and November last year.

He attended his wife’s home near Malmesbury – sometimes even on horseback – with Laura saying it was designed to unnerve and intimidate her and her children.

Throughout May, June, July, October and November last year, he sent numerous emails dubbed “unsolicited correspondence concerning the Covid vaccine programme”.

The couple had been separated for five years before these offences took place, Swindon Magistrates’ Court heard last Tuesday (August 30).

In a statement read to the court by prosecutor Kate Prince, Laura said: “Lester does not believe in Covid-19, he is anti-vaccination and anti-5G.

“He refused to adhere to lockdown laws, and tried to grab us and breath in our faces.

“We had a traditional marriage where I was the housewife and he was the breadwinner, having his own landscaping company.”

But Laura said they had a “difficult divorce”, accusing her ex-husband of refusing to mediate.

In the end, a settlement was reached which meant no contact.

“That was nearly four years ago, and the continual harassment, visiting our home day and night, turning up drunk or high, throwing stones at our doors or windows… We have lived on our nerves during this time,” she said

“We are concerned every time we hear a car on our driveway or hear the doorbell.”

Laura, who lives with her and Lester’s three children in a small village near Malmesbury, said: “It is a beautiful place to live but it makes us very vulnerable.

“He patrols our garden. Sometimes he arrives on horseback.”

Manners, now of Rose Hill in Port Isaac, Cornwall, had initially denied a charge of harassment but was convicted at a trial earlier this month.

Representing himself in the sentencing hearing, the 55-year-old said that “trauma” he experienced after being accused of violent conduct in an altercation with police at a rally had not been taken into account in a pre-sentence report.

“I was accused by the Metropolitan Police at a rally in London of violent conduct on two police officers. I was pushed in the back and there was measures of self-defence in there.

“I was cleared.”

He added: “It was a serious allegation against me, my name was cleared. After reading these emails to my wife, it is clear I was suffering trauma from this event.

“I had to focus all of my attention to clearing my name.”

But District Judge Joanna Dickens said he had been found guilty in this case of “crossing the line and crossing it by a long way”.

“At no point do you acknowledge that you have behaved in a manner of criminal harassment to your wife.

“You’re a man of otherwise good character, I accept that you have behaved out of character in relation to this.

“You crossed the line by a long way and you do need to find a way to accept that.”

The district judge gave Manners a two-year community order, which included 150 hours of unpaid work and a building better relationships programme requirement.

He must also pay court costs of £625 and a £95 victim surcharge.

Furthermore, a two-year restraining order prevents him from contacting his ex-wife or her new partner, or to go to their addresses.

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