A court has ordered a couple in the Lake District to pay their neighbours £196,000 in damages and £400,000 in court costs, after a vicious campaign of harassment, assault and slander. The victims faced years of their neighbours throwing rubbish in their garden, making veiled threats, and forcing confrontations.
Sadly, tales of nightmare neighbours are becoming all-too frequent.
HarassmentThe Daily Mail reported that Peter and Lesley Raymond had bought Lin Crag Farm in Blawith, Cumbria in 2009. The retired solicitor and his diplomat wife had no idea that the £600,000 17th century farmhouse would become the scene of a nasty, prolonged campaign of harassment by their next-door neighbours - Steven (53) and Fiona Young (47) (pictured).
The problem started decades earlier when the Young family had occupied the larger and more luxurious property. They sold up in 1965 and moved into a smaller cottage next door, but the Youngs were highly resentful when the property became a second home.
They launched a nasty campaign against the Raymonds. The Telegraph reported that this included piling rotting rubbish in the garden, damaging fences, letting dogs and guinea fowl onto their property, riding quadbikes over their grounds, and kicking footballs against the walls. The Raymonds had CCTV cameras for security, which Mr Young (a former pub landlord) mooned at and stuck two fingers up at - before painting over them. In one incident Mr Young made a sinister reference to a serial killer.
The Raymonds sued for harassment, trespass, nuisance, assault and slander and eventually won their case. According to the Westmorland Gazette, the recorder said: "'It is clear from an examination of the historical evidence that it was his intention to make the life of those who occupy the farm a misery; that his campaign of belligerence has continued since the death of his father, that he has a deep-seated aversion to those wealthy enough to afford a second home the size of the farm, and that the notoriety of his conduct is an open secret in the locality."
The Youngs have left the cottage and are renting nearby. They deny the picture of their family portrayed by the case.
Nightmare neighboursSadly tales of neighbourly disputes are all-too frequent. We reported last month on the couple who had sought to turn their end of a cul-de-sac into what was in effect a giant patio. After failing to reach an agreement between them, they went to court and the judge ruled that the paving would need to be taken up and the right of way to the road restored to the neighbours.
A month earlier it was the turn of a woman from North East London, whose neighbours had built an extension inches from her windows, and far wider than had been approved. The council refused to order that it be taken down.
The month before that we heard the particularly nasty tale of a couple who wanted to increase the size of their garden and stop their elderly neighbour from exercising her right of way over it. They began a campaign of harassment that at one stage even saw them try to get her sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
And in December last year a row over a wheelie bin cost neighbours £15,000. One wanted agreement that neither household could leave their bins on the shared driveway - but by resorting to the courts to agree it he ran up enormous court costs.