Written by B. Good
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Topics: Court

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

In a case that makes legal history, a North London man has been jailed for being 'too friendly'.

In a 5 week case at London's Wood Green Crown Court witnesses described 51 year old Jimmy Clarke as a 'chatty pain' who would indiscriminately hand out Werther's Originals.

Clarke, who lived with his mother would spend several hours a day asking strangers how they were feeling, helping them with their coat & offering to carry their shopping.

A witness who gave evidence from behind a screen described the moment she first encountered Clarke.

"I was reaching for my coat after a meal in a local café. Clarke appeared from nowhere and held it open while I inserted my arms. He asked me where I was from and said that the meal was 'on him'. He then paid in full, walked me home and offered to clean my kitchen."

The 84 year old described how she felt flattered but mostly scared and confused.

In a more sinister twist CCTV images revealed that Clarke would wear a large overcoat with hidden pockets containing hundreds of Werther's Originals used to engage strangers in chat.

Detective Inspector Mike Watts described his use of the popular sweets as quite literally a 'sweetener'. "Once Clarke had gained the strangers trust by offering them a boiled sweet, he would bore them with endless talk of weather and library closures".

As Clarke was escorted to a prison van he was heard discussing council plans to pedestrianise the local High Street.

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