What sounds like the plot of a horror movie has played out in real life at a Jewish primary school in north-east London. A mother, angry when it appeared that her daughter had not been invited to a classmate’s birthday party, took criminal revenge on the classmate’s mother for three years until she was finally arrested and sentenced to jail time earlier this month for perverting the course of justice.
Roz Page told The Daily Mail that one day some three years ago when she dropped off her daughter Sophie at the Clore Tikva School in Barkingside in Redbridge, all the other parents acted coldly toward her. She had no idea why, and when some time later she was barred by the school administration from entering the school building, she became even more confused.
Page, 47, said she had not only been well liked by other parents, but was also active in the school community, serving as chair of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA). She was even chosen to extol the education her daughter and other pupils receive at Clore Tikva in a video posted on the school’s website.
However parents at the school were reportedly getting abusive text messages, which appeared to be coming from Page. The PTA head claimed she had no knowledge of such texts.
It transpired that the messages were part of a sinister campaign against Page by Claire Mann, the mother of a girl her daughter Sophie’s class. The Mail reported that it started after Mann thought that her daughter had not been invited to Sophie’s birthday party.
It turned out that the invitation to the party had been given to the girl’s father (Mann’s ex-husband), whom it seems did inform Mann about it right away. To punish Page, not only did Mann send out abusive messages to the other parents from a pay-as-you-go phone under Page’s name, but she also sent threatening messages to Page.
Page shared some of these messages with The Jewish Chronicle, including ones in which Mann, 43, used vulgar words to insult her looks and told her “to die.” She also warned Page not to go ahead with Sophie’s party, because if she did something bad would happen and she’d have blood on her hands.
‘I knew now it was a witch-hunt, but the police weren’t interested’
The situation became a nightmare for Page as the abuse from Mann was unrelenting. Page’s efforts to solicit support from school and local political authorities proved unsuccessful, and when she went to the police, she was advised to drop her complaint. It turned out that the Mann had also complained to the police about Page, claiming that she was the one sending vile messages and making threats.
“I knew now it was a witch-hunt, but the police weren’t interested. They saw it as a petty dispute. I don’t think I was believed. I was sent home and told it would be better if it all went away,” Page told the Mail.
Page suffered from the ongoing stress not only psychologically, but also physically. Having suffered a stroke previously and with paralysis in part of her face due to Bell’s Palsy, she ended up in the hospital and back on medications for high blood pressure and other ailments. She also started losing her hair.
The situation finally came to a head and started turning in Page’s favor when on July 19, 2013, Mann used the pay-as-you-go phone to text Elisheva Mason, wife of the rabbi at Muswell Hill Synagogue in Finchley, North London. The message falsely claimed that there was a bomb planted in the heavily Jewish Finchley area.
“There is a bomb threat to Kinloss (Kinloss Gardens, N3) area hotels where there are many Israelis staying, please arrange evacuation,” read the text message.
Police matched the source of that message to the source of the messages Page has complained to the police about, and discovered it was Mann’s pay-as-you-go phone.
‘It was a relief to see her go to jail’
When the police came to Mann’s house with a search warrant, they found the box in which the phone was packaged when Mann purchased it. Mann was arrested, charged and released on bail.
According to the Mail, Mann — while out on bail — continued to show up at the school to glare intimidatingly at Page, even though a restraining order was in place prohibiting Mann from approaching Page or her family members. (Mann had also reportedly approached young Sophie in person and called her a “bitch.”)
Despite various delay tactics by Mann, she finally pleaded guilty to perverting the course of Justice last July, and this month she was sentenced to three years in prison.
“It was a relief to see her go to jail,” said Page, who was in court for the sentencing. “I don’t have to worry when the phone goes now. But she has shown no remorse, there has been no apology.”