A woman Quaker waged a vendetta against the fellow members of her local group after she claimed they formed a "clique" against her.
Julia Wermig-Morgan, a psychotherapist and Oxford University postgraduate, became upset about an alleged coterie that had formed within the religious organisation she had spent 35 years being part of.
The 70-year-old accused newcomer Caroline Kibblewhite, a retired probation officer and assistant clerk of the group, of creating a hierarchy of “important and unimportant people”.
Mrs Wermig-Morgan had been an elder of the Bridport Quaker group in Dorset and said she was effectively demoted by the “clique”.
She began sending Mrs Kibblewhite and Valerie Shepherd, one of the elders, “distressing and unsavoury” letters, emails and postcards.
In them, she accused certain members of bullying, fraud and domestic violence. She also charged some members with being “old ladies spreading malicious gossip” and claimed one was an “alcoholic in denial”.
Despite twice being asked to stop by police, Ms Wermig-Morgan carried on with her campaign of harassment.
The impact of her distressing correspondence caused some members to stay away from the group.
Mrs Wermig-Morgan, of Burton Bradstock, was eventually given a lifetime ban from the group.
She was charged by police with two counts of harassment without violence between Dec 21 2020 and March 5 this year.
She denied the offences and claimed she was a whistleblower and had sent the correspondence to highlight criminal activity - allegations that were unfounded.
Magistrates in Weymouth found her guilty following a two-day trial. Sentencing was adjourned, but the court was told a jail sentence was an option.
Olivia McGonigle, prosecuting, said the correspondence had been going on since 2019, much longer than the period covered in the charges. She said it related to members' personal lives, rather than religious matters.
Ms McGonigle said one “ludicrous” claim was of how Mrs Kibblewhite was being abused by her husband. She said: "There were accusations within the emails that Mrs Kibblewhite was hit by her husband.
"These were stories that suited Mrs Wermig-Morgan. Mrs Kibblewhite was in fact suffering from an eye condition at the time. She asked Mrs Wermig-Morgan to stop.”
Mrs Kibblewhite told the court she retired to rural Dorset for a quiet life and not to get embroiled in an ugly spat with anyone.
She said: "There were very solid hard-working people who were devastated by what was happening and were quite traumatised and their only solution was to stay away.”
She added: "Quite often I thought she had given up and then out of the blue there would be another postcard.
"I tried to ignore it but it gets under your skin and you can't help but think about them."
Mrs Wermig-Morgan, a psychotherapist and academic researcher with a science degree and two master’s degrees, told the court that the Kibblewhites had bullied her and other members, which led to a drop in members.
Mrs Wermig-Morgan accepted sending the correspondence but claimed that she was simply going through the correct channels to report her concerns involving vulnerable elderly people and children within the Quaker community.
She said: "It was equal, then a couple called the Kibblewhites arrived and they wanted to change the structure and have a hierarchy of important people and unimportant people.
"There was a lot of objections to it. About 10 years ago there were over 100 of us and we regularly had 35 to 50 people attending on Sunday mornings.
"Now it's dropped to below 30 and only about 10 people attend. It's just the clique of people who wanted the hierarchy.”
In finding Mrs Wermig-Morgan guilty, Sara Saunders, the presiding magistrate, said: "We have no evidence from the defence to support that her course of conduct was for the detection of a crime or was reasonable in the circumstances.
"It is apparent there were differences of opinion which has led to strained relationships.
"Mrs Wermig-Morgan was asked to stop both by Dorset police and the Quakers, but persisted.
“Given her intelligence, we believe she should have or would have known her behaviour would cause distress and find her guilty on both counts."
The case was adjourned until January for a pre-sentence report to be carried out for Mrs Wermig-Morgan.