An Auckland woman has been found guilty of harassing her former lover’s wife with a “persistent, vile barrage”..
The fallout of a three-year affair between Margaret Denise Kronfeld, 51, and a Dunedin businessman ended with eight charges being laid in in the Dunedin District Court between June and August 2015.
Two of those charges were later dropped, but the remaining six were the subject of a three-day trial in the Dunedin District Court in early February.
Judge Michael Crosbie, in a reserved decision, said the emails, texts and malicious phone calls Kronfeld sent were part of “a premeditated, persistent, vile barrage and attack on (the victim)”.
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Kronfeld, who later pleaded guilty to charges of using a telephone to annoy and sending fictitious messages, was found guilty on the four remaining charges, which included criminal harassment and accessing a computer system.
Details of the latter charge have been suppressed.
During the trial it was revealed Kronfeld set up 11 fake email aliases to harass her victim, who has name suppression, and sent 148 nuisance calls, texts and emails.
The victim, who was visibly upset in court, received 37 hang-up calls and malicious texts in a single day.
The victim said she felt as if the anonymous sender of the messages was trying to frighten her and make her beg.
Some texts made reference to her children, including “my instructions are to find you children”.
Kronfeld knew that harassment would make the victim reasonably fear for her children, Judge Crosbie said in his decision.
Sent emails included some from a “Tracey Hopkins” with the subject line “When he f….. you last”.
Another read “Don’t like myself for doing this job. Am now supposed to text you rude messages. Sorry. Someone else can have this dirty sick job”.
Kronfeld told the court she sent five of the emails with the purpose of annoying the victim, but that the behaviour was not normal for her.
When cross-examined by police prosecutor Stewart Sluis, Kronfeld conceded she created numerous fake email accounts.
Judge Crosbie said Kronfeld’s evidence was neither credible or reliable.
“Her brief explanation of not being rational or her normal self does not equate with the overall inference and impact of the evidence, which is that this was a premeditated campaign, involving some sophistication and deception, aimed directly at Mrs X over a sustained period of time.
“The sustained nature of the contact, the deception involved and the crude, vile and offensive content of many of the communications paints a more accurate picture of Mrs Kronfeld’s intent.”
The victim’s husband, and Kronfeld’s former lover, who also cannot be identified due to his wife’s name suppression, told the court he had not given Kronfeld the password to a family email account in 2011, which was later used to access a third-party’s computer system.
“A bunch of lies,” he said.
Their affair ended in February 2014.
Judge Crosbie said the man’s evidence was honest and he clearly regretted his conduct.
That contrasted with Kronfeld’s evidence, as the judge said she appeared to give a “salacious trawl” of the affair, which had little or no relevance to the case.
Kronfeld will be sentenced on April 28.