New details about a stalker’s attempts to get onto the grounds of Gatcombe Park, Princess Anne’s country home, and to attack the Princess Royal were heard in court last week.
James Ballinger, a 35-year-old man of Farm Close, Minchinhampton, made a series of 999 calls on 27 February and told the operator that he was going to Gatcombe Park to stab Princess Anne “and anybody else who was there.” He was found on the estate by police that afternoon.
Ballinger also told the operator that Princess Anne was “controlling his mind by moving his satellites.”
Last Wednesday, Ballinger, who was out on bail awaiting his court appearance, made another call to 999 saying that he was thinking of stabbing Princess Anne again, and said that she was “moving his satellites, which was affecting his well-being,” according to prosecutor Cathy Thornton.
Ballinger appeared before the courts via video link from the Gloucestershire Police Custody Unit, and the defending lawyer, Lee Mott, told the judge: “He does not remember making the original call to the police in February.
“When the 999 call was played back to him, he agreed that the voice was his and that he had said some horrible things. He said he was sorry he had threatened Princess Anne.”
Ballinger was later sentenced to 12 months on a community order that includes rehabilitation and attending help programmes for alcohol and mental health issues. Ballinger is also prohibited from entering Gatcombe Park for six months.
Neither Princess Anne nor her representatives at Buckingham Palace offered a comment on the court case.
Princess Anne was the subject of a failed kidnapping attempt in March 1974, when an armed man stopped her car as it was driving up the Mall to Buckingham Palace. When the attempted kidnapper told Princess Anne to get out of the car, after shooting her personal protection officer, she retorted, “Not bloody likely.”