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article imageWoman charged over golliwog in window

By Lynn Curwin     Sep 9, 2011 in World
Worlingham - A 65-year-old woman in the UK has been charged with racially aggravated harassment after a neighbour complained that she had placed a golliwog in her window.
Jena Mason of Worlingham, Suffolk said she put the toy in the window when she was cleaning up after her grandson.
Jena and her husband Terry have not had a peaceful relationship with their neighbours, Rosemarie and Stephen O'Donnell, for a while. After the Masons, who live in a 16th century manor house, had applied for permission to build new stables on their land the O'Donnells, who live in a £1m barn conversion, tried to stop them. They claimed construction of the stables would increase traffic, cause boundary and right-of-way issues, and there there would be problems with waste from the horses.
The Masons son-in-law, Daniel O’Dell, who lives in their home, is in training for the British Olympic dressage team and it is believed that he needs the stables for his horses.
Rosemarie O'Donnell, who has Jamaican roots, said she was shocked and upset when she spotted a golliwog in the window of the Masons' home. She took a photograph and, days after planning permission was given, she took it to police and made a formal complaint.
"We have had a complaint from a member of the public, we have investigated it and both the Crown Prosecution Service and ourselves have agreed there is enough to prosecute," The Guardian quoted a police spokeswoman as saying.
Mason said she simply set the doll in the window while cleaning up after her 16-month-old grandson, and her actions were not racial or abusive.
"I was completely and utterly surprised," The Telegraph quoted her as saying. "For me to be accused of this is silly. It must be a misunderstanding."
Her solicitor, James Hartley said there had been no malicious or racial intention and it is regrettable that the matter was blown out of proportion.
Stephen O'Donnell disagreed.
"It was clearly deliberately placed on the window sill facing out of the window." he told the Daily Mail.
"I do not believe it was casually tossed up there. It has caused immense upset. You live in the countryside and you think you have got away from all this nonsense."
Jena Mason is scheduled to appear before magistrates on Tuesday.
Golliwogs were once popular as characters in children's book, toys and as a symbol on Robertson's jam.
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