Smirking thug threatened to stab elderly neighbours
11th February 2023

Smirking thug threatened to stab his elderly neighbours, egged their cars and smashed their flowerpots because he was convinced their new doorbell camera was only installed to spy on him

  • Sean Dobson, 34, became convinced his elderly neighbours were spying on him 
  • Dobson threatened to stab them and pulled down his trousers in front of camera
  • Read more: Ball gag bought by killer before murdering 70-year-old girlfriend  

A delusional thug who was convinced his neighbours were watching him through a doorbell camera and threatened to stab them has avoided prison. 

‘Paranoid’ Sean Dobson became convinced elderly neighbours Irene and Clive Whitley were using the device to spy on him, even though it didn’t have a view of his front door.

He was handed an 18-month suspended sentence and a £300 fine at Winchester Crown Court and will be subject to a restraining order preventing him from contacting the Whitleys.  

The 34 year old left his victims ‘shaking with fear’ after he threatened to stab them, egged the couple’s cars, smashed their flowerpots and destroyed flowers given to them by their daughter.

In astonishing video footage, he also pulled down his trousers to ‘expose his bottom’ to the doorbell camera, the court heard.

The 34-year-old unemployed handyman was handed an 18-month sentence for a campaign of harassment against his elderly neighbours 

Dobson left court grinning for the cameras. He pleaded guilty to one count of harassment with fear of violence 

Following his ‘neverending’ campaign of harassment, the couple were so frightened they became ‘trapped’ inside their home in fear, with Mr Whitley – who is disabled – missing physio appointments and his wife missing work for fear of passing Dobson’s door.

Appearing at Winchester Crown Court, the unemployed handyman pleaded guilty to one count of harassment with fear of violence.

After warning him to stop disrupting the court when he interrupted the proceedings loudly, Judge Jane Miller gave him an 18-month suspended prison sentence.

Dobson left court grinning for the cameras.

The court heard he was living on the same corridor as the Whitleys in housing association accommodation in Basingstoke when he began his ‘campaign of harassment’ on January 1, 2020.

The couple – who are in their 60s and are suffering from ill health – had lived there for six years and had ‘loved it’ until Dobson, who moved in a few months earlier, began abusing them.

The trigger for the harassment was the doorbell camera which the Whitleys had installed after a fire at a neighbour’s flat.

He shouted at them ‘Come out you old c***s’ and said he would ‘whack’ and ‘stab’ them, the court heard.

Prosecutor Keely Harvey said: ‘Irene was too scared to go work and too scared to be home alone. Mr Dobson made their lives a misery, and they said it was never-ending.

‘They said they had lived there for six years and loved it, but now feel trapped, threatened, victimised and harassed. They described him as scary and intimidating.

‘As a result, they requested to move accommodation.’

Another neighbour, a police officer from the Thames Valley force, filed 20 reports on their behalf.

But Dobson was only arrested on April 12, 2021 when he was ‘aggressive’ as officers arrived to take a report, blocking their entry to the building by wedging the door with a sheet of plastic.

Ms Harvey said: ‘On the day of his arrest, he made the police’s entry to the property more difficult by obstructing the door with a sheet of plastic.

udge Miller said to Dobson: ‘They installed CCTV in the form of a doorbell because they were concerned that a previous neighbour had set fire to his flat. That caused you to become angry and paranoid’

‘When they got in, they found Mr Dobson at the Whitleys’ door, who claimed he was confronting Mr Whitley about why he was telling people that Mr Dobson had threatened to stab them.

‘He told the police he was being harassed by the Whitleys.’

The couple have now moved out of the flat, the court heard.

Mitigating, Samantha Wall said: ‘Mr Dobson is a man who has a degree of struggles. This behaviour only occurred after the camera was installed – there were no issues with his neighbours before.

‘He thought his neighbours were spying on him but now realises this was not the case.

‘According to his probation officer, his real difficulty is managing his emotions and a lack of thinking skills.’

Sentencing him, Judge Miller said: ‘They installed CCTV in the form of a doorbell because they were concerned that a previous neighbour had set fire to his flat. That caused you to become angry and paranoid.

‘I have seen dozens of clips from the doorbell and they are pretty astonishing. You threw food out of your window, egged their car, pulled down your trousers to expose your bottom to the camera and left Mrs Whitley shaking in fear after threatening to stab her.

‘Your real problem is managing your emotions and your impulsivity.’

Dobson, who now lives in Botley, was also ordered to pay £300 to the victims, undertake 200 hours of community service, enrol in a ‘Thinking Skills’ program and was given a restraining order of five years.

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