Woman whose police complaint led to harassment notice for Croydon Advertiser journalist is arrested

The woman who accused Croydon Advertiser reporter Gareth Davies of harassment after he emailed and doorstepped her has been arrested and bailed.

The complaints of Neelam Desai led to Davies being served with a “prevention of harassment” notice by Metropolitan Police officers, who came to the Advertiser’s Red Hill office.

After Press Gazette broke the story, it was followed up by a number of national newspapers and led to wide-spread criticism from press freedom groups.

The "Prevention of Harassment Letter" claimed Davies contacted her via Twitter and email on more than two occasions “seeking to interview her for a story for a local newspaper".

“She has stated that she does not wish to be contacted or written about by Mr Davies as she feels harassed by these actions. Mr Davies has failed to accept this, but continued to write and and make unsolicited contacts which result in Ms Desai feeling intimidated and persecuted."

The letter states in bold type: “HARASSMENT IS A CRIMINAL OFFENCE."

It then stated that harassment can take many forms, including "abusive communication” or “repeated attempts to talk to or approach a person who is opposed to this".

Davies had been conducting an in-depth investigation into Desai which had resulted in five page-leads at the time.

The Met Police has so far refused to rescind the harassment notice.

The Advertiser has reported that Desai, 33, from Selhurst, was arrested yesterday morning on suspicion of committing ten counts of fraud by false representation. She has since been released on bail until mid-August. She has not been charged.

A Met Police spokesman said: "Police in Croydon this morning, Wednesday, 16 April, arrested a 33-year-old woman on suspicion of 10 counts of fraud by false representation.

"She has since been bailed to return to a south London police station to a date in mid-August pending further enquiries." 

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