Some of my followers may be aware that I was recently involved in a bitter business & political disagreement resulting in a serious legal matter between myself and the founder of ‘#WorcestershireHour’ Stuart Allen. This culminated in me losing my cool & in the heat of the moment mindlessly making a single threat to kill & engaging in harassing behaviour by making an excessive amount of phone calls, none of which were answered. I was arrested by West Mercia Police on the afternoon of Tuesday 14th August 2018, and subsequently sentenced some time later on 18th September 2018.
I’d like to take some time to share further details on this situation & the chain of events leading up to this bitter disagreement taking place, for the attention of those who may be interested to know & want to learn more.
There have been articles shared publicly naming & shaming me with an aim to throw dirt & shame on my reputation by The Kidderminster Shuttle & Worcester News. Also in addition WorcestershireHour have been re-sharing these articles since the case was concluded at Kidderminster Magistrates Court on using parts of the articles to create profiles designed to shame me publicly using photographs of me & screenshots of my profiles in a newly setup profile called @KnowWhoYouTweet on Twitter.
During the weeks leading up to August 2018 many of our long-term followers will be aware that I took a professional decision to rebrand Deals4Worcestershire from #Deals4Worcs @Deals4Worcs to #ThreeCountiesHour @3CountiesHour. This was in order to offer a more ‘diverse’ service which could better cater for not only Worcestershire, but for all the Three Counties of Herefordshire, Worcestershire & Gloucestershire together.
Our new service via #ThreeCountiesHour would no longer be restricted to only being able to Retweet & Share Deals, Discounts, Special Offers, Events & Competitions etc but one that could serve local Businesses, Charities & Communities all of the time. Offering a far more efficient streamlined service and keeping our followers up to date with all the very latest news & information on all that’s happening in the ThreeCounties.
When we first started our journey as Deals4Worcestershire in 2015 we quickly became aware of similar initiatives in operation on Twitter. Most prominently we recognised ‘WorcestershireHour an hour on Twitter twice a week with a purpose of networking Local Businesses, Charities & Communities in the county of Worcestershire. Our vision for Deals4Worcestershire was somewhat different as we were looking specifically for Deals, Special Offers, Discounts, Events & Competitions etc to promote to our followers.
We soon began following #WorcestershireHour and we always remember positively looking forward to engaging with various local businesses, Charities & Organisations in Worcestershire during their Live hours on Twitter. We used to take this time to also spread awareness of our initiative to those engaging with ‘WorcestershireHour’ to let them know when they have Deals, Offers, Events & Competitions etc, that they are always welcome to mention us (@Deals4Worcs) on Twitter. This is in addition to using the #WH service & in fact offers a further extended audience via using our own service in combination with that of the service that WH provides.
On the whole we were able to co-exist happily alongside ‘WorcestershireHour’ from 2015 up until August 2018 when we took the decision to expand our horizons and rebrand our initiative to #ThreeCountiesHour. It wasn’t until this time that we began to experience negativity & exclusion from the founder of WorcestershireHour ‘Stuart Allen’. It is also worth mentioning that it was around this time that we were contacted by a few individuals & organisations in Worcestershire ‘@LadySadie66 & @WorcsLEP’ wanting to know more information about what organisation was behind the account.
We replied to these messages stating that there is no organisation as such behind our initiative, explaining that it is the sole vision of an individual namely myself & that I was happy to hear any proposals they had for us being able to work together. This message was not replied to, so I am still unclear as to the intentions of these certain individual’s & organisations.
On 9th August 2018 I was contacted by ‘Stuart Allen’ via DM asking me if I had anything to do with 2 newly setup accounts on Twitter @CentralUKHour and @MerciaHour. I replied promptly stating that I didn’t have anything to do with these accounts, but that I was aware of them and that we took the decision to block both of these accounts. Stuart Allen replied stating that @WorcesterHour had also taken the same action.
Communications between ourselves ceased at this point up until 20:01 on 9th August when I became aware of a tweet published by @WorcesterHour stating the following:
At this point I then messaged Stuart again asking what the tweet was about as I felt it was directly aimed at #ThreeCountiesHour. It was also upsetting to learn that collaboration between ourselves & WorcestershireHour was looking highly unlikely at this point. I explained to him that he had no right to tell people how they should be using Twitter & that I felt he was being bitter towards me & towards #ThreeCountiesHour wanting a stronghold over Businesses & Charities in Worcestershire. I told him not to crush somebody else’s dreams and ambitions just to achieve his own. I also explained that @ThreeCountiesHour hadn’t mentioned @WorcesterHour in any of our tweets & that it felt he taking aim at our followers trying to dissuade them from using #ThreeCountiesHour in their tweets.
Stuart replied stating to me he was just “educating our followers about the rules of #WorcestershireHour just like we are trying to do with ours. I then explained that we don’t have such rules & the difference is that we are willing to work alongside and in collaboration with other local hours. I also stressed to him that if he truly cared about local businesses & Charities then he should see the wider benefits of our hours being able to work together for all the Local Businesses, Charities & Communities we both seek to represent.
He replied saying that he disagreed and that by creating #ThreeCountiesHour we are introducing “Competitors” from each county to the other counties, further explaining that he too had conferences & events planned, Worcestershire focussed one.
I told him it was nonsense & that he doesn’t own Twitter nor does he own local businesses or charities either. I explained to him that local business owners are rightly free to engage with anyone they wish to. I also told him that I felt it was him who had a problem with me and reminded him that dishing out slander is a criminal offence.
He replied saying he “wasn’t sure what to say, we are clearly not going to agree. You do your thing & we’ll continue to do ours”. I replied saying that when he really thinks about things it is him who is viewing other local hours on Twitter as “Competition”, namely #ThreeCountiesHour. It is not ourselves doing that we have always wanted to collaborate & we told him that it’s just him wanting to maintain a total stronghold over Businesses, Charities & Organisations in Worcestershire and that I would not let that happen.
I stated we were never going to agree because he has a problem with me personally & told him to just start being honest. Also that contributors to our hour’s would be put off using #WorcestershireHour in their tweets the more they keep snapping at our followers in their tweets mentioning #ThreeCountiesHour & #WorcestershireHour together. I said that we would never agree, because he didn’t want to.
Again he replied saying that he disagreed & was just ensuring that #WorcestershireHour continues to work for them. I reminded him that it would still work for them and would in fact work far better for everyone, as being able to use both hashtags together can only mean a further extended audience reach on Twitter across Herefordshire, Worcestershire & Gloucestershire.
At this point I asked him directly if he had a problem with me and he replied “I don’t have a problem with you as a person”. I told him if that’s the case not to crush the hard efforts I’m making to move forwards in my life & destroy my vision just in order that he can achieve his own. I also stated that I would always RT anything with #WorcestershireHour in whether they contain #ThreeCountiesHour or not. I again questioned him as to why he was so opposed to the idea.
Almost instantaneously @ThreeCountiesHour was then blocked by @WorcesterHour & by @StuartAllenFCMI along with my personal account @SyHawkes also blocked too and our dialogue on Twitter terminated there.
I was very upset, angry and confused in this moment and all I wanted to know was why we were just blocked on Twitter for saying nothing untoward. The only way I could contact Stuart was by phone as he had previously given me his number. So I called his phone a few times and he wasn’t answering any of my calls, every call just went to voicemail. I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t just be upfront & grown-up about things and tell me why he had just blocked me & @ThreeCountiesHour on Twitter.
In this moment I can remember feeling very much that both myself & @3CountiesHour were being deliberately excluded from Worcestershire and that 3 years of hard work developing our presence on Twitter was all going to go to waste. I kept trying to talk to Stuart on the phone and he just wasn’t answering any of my calls. This just led to me becoming even more upset & angry. Over the course of 2 days (9th & 10th August) I left a few voicemails & on the day after (11th August) I just left one which was in a calm manner stating that my phone was always open anytime he wants to call and discuss things in a grown-up and civilised manner.
It was the morning of 13th August and 2 days had passed since I left the voicemail in a calm manner & I had still had no response. The first LIVE #ThreeCountiesHour was arranged in advance for 14th August from 8-9pm & I felt it couldn’t proceed without the support & participation of Local Businesses & Charities in Worcestershire. I felt that Stuart had deliberately not only stood in the way of my progress, but was also happy to exclude an initiative which he knows was not created overnight, but the end product of 3 years of hard work, dedication & effort, all seemingly gone to waste.
Again I became very distressed and upset resulting in me getting angry and wanting answers as to why I was being made to feel like this. I tried calling Stuart again a number of times & again he wasn’t answering any of my calls. I then left a voicemail very upset & angry saying I would go to his next business conference at Worcester University and expose him in front of his audience, and at the end of the voicemail adding that I would ‘chop his head off’. This was despite the fact that I had no intention at all of carrying out the said threat.
I clearly wasn’t thinking about the words that were coming from my mouth and therefore not even realising the very serious legal implications of the words I spoke. I had booked a ticket to go to the event, but this was only at most to disrupt his speech by invading the stage & telling people how he crushes other people’s dreams & initiatives not helps them. I would not have done anymore than this and the words I spoke were said without giving prior thought to the seriousness of the words I spoke.
I was subsequently arrested by West Mercia Police on 14th August 2018 & interviewed under caution at Kidderminster Police Station for making a threat to kill & the harassment of Stuart Allen. During interview & throughout the entire course of this legal process against me I have been upfront & honest about what happened & have not denied my guilt in terms of the threat I made or the course of harassment I engaged in. I have however been genuinely remorseful & have deep regrets about what happened.
I was finally sentenced some weeks later on 18th September 2018 at Kidderminster Magistrates Court to: 12 weeks custodial sentence suspended for 18 Months, a probation supervision order for 18 months along with 35 Activity Rehabilitation Days, £250 combined legal costs & an indefinite restraining order in place.
Since matters were concluded in court this has finalised matters on my part, but unfortunately not on the local media & victims part, as articles were published by Kidderminster Shuttle & Worcester News in follow-up. Despite I hasten to add the fact that were nobody from the ‘Press’ in court on 18th September when I was sentenced and this matter concluded. These articles have then been used as part of a public naming & shaming/targeted harassment campaign against me by the victim every day since for 2 weeks.
On 29th September 2018 I was in Worcester doing some shopping & I was approached by a young woman who then shouted “Terrorist” at me and spat at me. This I can only put down to the fact that articles have been shared about me relating to this case, putting me in the same category as an ISIS Terrorist which simply could not be further from the truth! Any of my good friends who know me well will know that Terrorism is just one of the many things I have always stood against in this world. In this case the words I spoke caused Terror to the victim, but no physical actions were committed & as such it is unfair to portray my character in this light.
There is a justice system in place in this country for a good reason & in certain cases a victim must accept the outcome of a court case and allow the offender to serve his sentence & reform their character with the ongoing support of the probation service. I have suffered with Depression & Anxiety for a number of years and it has worsened somewhat recently. ThreeCountiesHour gave me a positive purpose in life & a goal that I could work towards, so that one day I could be self-sufficient and to make my own way in this world with my own initiative which I care very passionately about because I know it has such a great wider purpose.
Please Note: Information in this article along with images & screenshots have been sourced from information widely available in the public domain and via communications on Twitter.