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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 80236
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I've had a falling out with a volatile, mentally ill

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I've had a falling out with a volatile, mentally ill neighbour who Iooked after during lock down and became friends with I was named as her next of kin and was at her home nearly every day, fixing things, talking, eating, doing the garden She gave me the code to her door key and I would always use that to go in ... she even asked me to let myself in when she had fallen asleep from medication at 6.30 or so to get some food she had made We were very close However one evening I desperately needed an Allen key and I had just been at her house for dinner. She had fallen asleep and I sent her a message to say I was going in, don't freak out, ill try to wake her like usual...I put on the message "it's just me, don't call the police lol"
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Well around that time my girlfriend moved in and my neighbour hated her through jealousy. And with my work I was going to visit less and less. So she turned and got extremely angry with me. She blows up at everyone at some point. She sent hareful messages and decided that I had broken and entered And when i said I don't want to talk anymore she now says she has gone to the police And believes i will be convicted...although I'm not sure exactly what she said is the main issue. She now claims I just destroyed her well being when I did no such thing My question is this: If I was in such a familiar context, where we were always borrowing things, like family, I was named next of kin, given the key and told to let myself in whenever...can this now in hindsight be seen as breaking and entering? Even though we were perfectly pleasant with contact for months after, and I made it clear I thought this was the level we were on. If it was not that's a misunderstanding, but of course I didn't want to take advantage - that's why I sent her a message as I was going in. I had bought her dinner and been in half an hour previously!! Any advice on this would be much appreciated. It's quite nuanced in the circumstances of the time, even if it looks simple on the surface
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: Steps, in terms of legal action?
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I think that's the gist of it This is the first time I've reached out

Hi, welcome to JustAnswer. My name is*****’m a barrister with 12 years of experience and I am happy to help with your question today.

Would you mind summarising your question? I'm not sure I understand the point

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Sorry

No problem.

What is the summary of her claim?

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
I was given the key to my neighbours house. I helped herbwith everything and we became close and familiar with one another; I would always let myself in. And we would always lend each other stuff. One night I desperately needed a small tool I knew she had, in order to help someone else, but she was sleeping on the living room chair (around 8.30pm). So I sent her a message to warn her and went in. I went into the living room to see her (I would do this all the time anyway) and she woke up. I had been in there half an hour previously with dinner when she was awake
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Since then she fell out with me because she is extremely mentally unstable and I didn't have the same time to see her. And after I said I don't want to hear anymore complaints from her she said she had gone to the police about me
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
My question is: could this be seen as breaking and entering / some form of abuse on my part?
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
The circumstances were that I was given the key, always welcome and used to going over whether she was asleep or awake, almost daily
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Do those circumstances contribute to the matter legally in any way?
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
I haven't seen a written claim yet; she merely just said she has involved the police for "everything I've done"

Thank you. She could obviously make false allegations. Unfortunately people like this do tend to. However if she reports things exactly as you describe then it would depend whether or not you removed anything with an intention not to return it. Or whether you intended to

It isn't a harassment on your version of events but of course she will tell a different story. If she ever does report this then I would concentrate on defending it and don't have anything else to do with people like her

Can I clarify anything for you?

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a waythat is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will bemore than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once againfor using our services.

Jo

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Hello Jo, thank you for this response. It was a small tool and I returned it the very next day. This person is very mentally unstable but I have taken screenshots of all the contact since it went sour; there's been no harassment or nasty words on my part, even though she goes on about my "dismantling words". She sent this to me tonight - I'll attach it as a screenshot
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
File attached (35PVS3T)
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
She is up and down like a yoyo but that message looks like a threat. "Talk to me or ill pursue charges". Should I talk to her?

No, I wouldn't get involved with her. I cant be bothered with unstable people.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
OK. You say I should focus on defending it ... but I don't know what her claim is. Do I wait for police to come knocking to ask questions? Is that how this would work?

Yes just do nothing. Ignore her. Don't give her the attention that she is craving. If she makes an allegation then deal with it then I don't have anything else to do with her ever or other people like her.

Give people claiming to be victims a wide berth whatever their explanation is. Usually the truth is that they are just malingerers.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Ok. The trouble is I am giving her back some things she long-term lent me, and will take some things i left in her garden. I will need contact for that. If I did speak with her would there be any negative legal implications in my doing that?
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
are there any laws in this country about subtly audio recording conversations?

You don't really need contact. You can just leave it outside her door, take a photograph and then ring the bell and walk away.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
She isn't strong enough to get them in the house- I will have to do that. And will have to go through her house go take some large things away that she could accuse me of "dumping on her"

its not your problem.

She will have to sort it. That is the consequence of behaving badly and accusing everybody of falsehoods; people stop helping you.

Accusers need to learn to take responsibility.

She will find somebody to help her, don't you worry. She will spin some yarn about domestic or childhood abuse or some other nonsense.

Don't place yourself at risk again.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
OK. I was just hoping to make the headache of the prospect of a legal matter go away. But unless I fall exactly in line she will probably always go off the handle. I knew she would do this; the biggest offense before was shutting her off and saying the time to discuss further had come and gone. I half knew she would try the police thing as she knew she couldn't get to me any other way
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
But seriously, my biggest question is this - what is my next step? Do I prepare anything with a solicitor when I haven't heard any specific claim yet? Will police come knocking or would I get a letter? How does it work with a claim like this?

No, you just do nothing, as I said.

Save for not engaging with people like her.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
OK, thank you

Good to talk to you.

No problem.

All the best.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you