THE boss of an Amersham-based pharmaceutical company, who was so scared by a campaign of intimidation waged by animal rights activists that he hired a bodyguard, has seen one of his tormentors jailed for eight months.

Stephen Lightfoot, MD of Sankyo Pharma UK Limited, based in White Lion Road, was the target of a hate campaign by animal rights activist Janet Lawrence, Lewes Crown Court heard on Wednesday, November, 2nd.

He was so scared by a series of poison pen letters, some of which called him "evil and perverted", that he hired a private security firm to protect him and his family.

Greg Perrins, prosecution, said the letters, written in red ink, caused Mr Lightfoot to "fear for the welfare and safety and peace of mind of his family at his home address".

Lawrence, 51, of Sunbury, Middlesex, an Animal Liberation Front (ALF) supporter, sent letters to companies she believed were linked to Huntington Life Sciences, a laboratory in Cambridge, which uses animals for medical research.

A letter sent to Mr Lightfoot read: "Your life will be made a living hell until you stop abusing animals for profit, you evil, perverted scum."

It went on: "You are the number one ALF target and the animal rights militia does not tolerate evil, perverted, sick scum like you."

Other victims resorted to having their mail redirected, having it X-rayed and having CCTV cameras installed at their homes.

Mr Perrins told the court Lawrence had links to the Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty (SHAC) and had been stopped by police before for wearing an ALF badge.

Dora Belford, defence, said Lawrence was the daughter of a senior officer in the army and had become involved in animal rights campaigns after seeing a TV programme in 1999.

Ms Belford claimed Lawrence was not part of the hierarchy in animal rights groups, and was nicknamed Lady Penelope by other campaigners.

Lawrence admitted causing a public nuisance.

Judge Richard Hayward said of the letters: "These were designed to frighten and intimidate and were part of a wider campaign waged by SHAC.

"You are undoubtedly an intelligent woman with good qualifications.

"I think you lack insight the effect these letters would have on people.

"The campaigns which you have supported have generated considerable emotion and generated violence and people must understand that believing in a cause does not justify unlawful activities."

Lawrence was sentenced to eight months imprisonment and issued with a five-year Anti-Social Behaviour Order.

The orders bans her from going within one mile of Huntington Life Sciences or from contacting anyone involved in the company or its agents.