Scientist dubbed 'Britain's worst stalker' to remain behind bars

·3-min read
Richard Jan was branded by police as
Richard Jan was branded 'Britain's worst stalker' by police. (PA)

A scientist dubbed “Britain’s worst stalker” by police will stay behind bars for longer after the Parole Board refused to release him. 

Richard Jan fire-bombed the home of a councillor and torched the car of a social worker.

He also hired private detectives to find his victims' homes, made 4,500 crank calls, sent more than 200 threatening letters, slashed car tyres and smashed windows.

The biochemist was jailed for life in 2004 for two offences of arson with intent to endanger life and causing a public nuisance between 1996 and 2003 after targeting more than 200 victims. 

Social services were called to Jan's west London house by his mother, who he physically abused, in 1996. 

At his mother's request the local mental health team carried out an assessment of him, but when he reacted aggressively to their questions, he was arrested.

The arrest convinced Jan that the authorities wanted to ruin his life so he "declared war" on everyone involved in his case, including doctors, nurses, probation officers, social workers, councillors and even a hospital chief executive.

Richard Jan waged a revenge campaign on staff at Ealing Council after he was visited by their mental health team for an assessment (EBC)
Richard Jan waged a revenge campaign on staff at Ealing Council after he was visited by its mental health team for an assessment. (EBC)

He was branded a “devious and manipulative bully” after carrying out what he called "World War Three" against people he believed were part of a “grand coalition” to try to section him under the Mental Health Act. 

Jan's court case heard that his “cunning and remorseless obsession” ruined people’s lives but that psychiatrists could find no evidence of mental illness. 

Some victims were subjected to his “trademark” car tyre slashings and round-the-clock phone calls while others were followed home or sent unwanted pizzas, taxis and even a pest control officer.

In total Jan was linked to 4,500 crank calls, which detectives called “the tip of the iceberg”.

At the time police said there had never been a case like it and that Jan was “undoubtedly Britain’s worst stalker”.

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It was determined that Jan represented a “serious danger to the public for an indefinite and indeterminate time”. 

In a ruling published on Monday, the Parole Board said it was “not satisfied that Mr Jan was suitable (for) release”, after hearing evidence that he had threatened some staff while in custody and had made “mixed progress” behind bars. 

The parole papers said: “Whilst on the whole, Mr Jan had good working relationships with professional staff, there had also been some recent concerns about his behaviour in prison.

“This had included making threats towards some of the officials involved with his case.”

Jan has already spent an extra 11 years in prison so far in addition to his minimum seven-year term.

This was his fifth review by the Parole Board and he will be eligible for another in around two years’ time.

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