Girl gives evidence at trial of preacher Johann Perera

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A young woman who claimed she was stalked incessantly by Leighton Buzzard preacher Johann Perera gave evidence at Luton Crown Court today.

Shielded behind a partition, the 19-year-old was at times stressed as she answered questions about how the alleged stalking began.

She said: “I thought he was harmless, because he knows everyone. I just thought he was a bit crazy.”

After Mr Perera visited the shop she worked at in 2013, she agreed to give him her email address and phone number. Messages started arriving the next day.

She said: “They weren’t bad at first, quite harmless, but then he wanted me to meet up with him and then ringing and ringing and I just ignored the phonecalls.

“I didn’t say anything at first, I just ignored it. He left voicemails and then he’d turn up at the shop asking why I hadn’t met with him.

“He just sat there and stared, just looked at me from when I started, 10am until 5pm, every time I was in there.

“He only started to talk if the manager would leave, and he’d try to come in the back room.”

After a while, the manager banned Mr Perera from coming into the shop.

She said: “He still would wait around the corner and then he’d follow me to my car. He used to walk past the shop about three times a day, waving at the window.”

Mr Perera did not have the girl’s address, and according to her, sent letters to a neighbour’s house believing that was her home. She kept some later ones to give to police.

She said: “He used to attach voice messages to emails that would go on for a very long time.

“Some would be him praying, some sounded like he was crying, some saying he loved me. It was really weird and I didn’t listen to many.”

Asked what was the most distressing email at this time, she said one referencing his “chocolate cake” which she “could have at any time”. The girl believed this referred to sex, and found it “disgusting”.

Some of the emails were then read out in court. One stated: “I will always remain faithful to you. I love you :-) you make my heart sing, my heart is gooey for you.”

Asked how she felt about them, the girl frequently used the expressions, “a bit scary” and “weird”.

She said things became worse after she started going out with her boyfriend.

In one email, Mr Perera allegedly states: “God is able to get angry. I do not want to be at the funeral of an eighteen-year-old.

“I do not want to see you stabbed outside your flat do I? I have asked God to help you get over your adulteries.

“God unfortunately says that unless you give up your ways he will have to execute you. You’ve seen all the thunder and lightning. Take that as a sign. It would take just one lightning bolt to finish you off my lovely.”

Mr Perera allegedly also obtained the boyfriend’s email address. These emails were apparently more direct, with allusions to Mr Perera’s friends who he allegedly stated would kill for him.

Asked how she felt about these, the girl said: “I was worried. I didn’t know what he might do. I was scared for my boyfriend.”

The case continues.