An argument between neighbours in posh Sutton Coldfield took an unpleasant turn, when the owner of a £1 million house appeared brandishing an axe. She also hit two others with a walking stick.
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The row had broken out over a boundary issue, as the neighbours carried out work on their properties. The Birmingham Mail reported that the assaults took place in March and August last year. Even before that, Caroline Moore (50) said the neighbours had been on bad terms for the past ten years. She had spoken to the police about ongoing arguments, and they recommended she recorded her neighbour Julie Rankine (54) next time she behaved unreasonably.
According to The Daily Mail, in March she heard her neighbour rowing with her builders, so went outside to record the row on her mobile phone. Rankine responded by hitting Moore in the stomach with her walking stick. Moore told Birmingham Magistrates Court that she had been hit with the stick on two other occasions, while her husband Brendan had a fence panel pushed in his face after an argument about the fence. After this particular altercation, she had apparently emerged behind her garden gate brandishing an axe.
Sadly neighbour disputes are all too common, and they can easily escalate, as people are forced to live cheek-by-jowl with someone they have fallen out with. The consequences can be unexpected.
An odd one from 2015 was the woman who was sick of her neighbours objecting to her requests for planning permission, so she painted her house in red and white stripes. The council ordered her to repaint, but she was subsequently given permission for extensive work.
Even more odd was Andrew Currie (48) who created a fake poison-pen Facebook account in the name of his neighbour, Andrew Small (57), and published insults against himself. He reported it to police, who were on the verge of arresting Small, but checked a freedom of information request he had made years earlier, and noticed a difference in the writing styles. It turned out that the neighbours had fallen out when Small had successfully campaigned against the introduction of a resident's parking zone in their Croydon street, and Currie was trying to get revenge. He was jailed for ten months.
Another extreme example was the couple jailed for 28 days for trimming a neighbour's hedge. To be fair to the judge, it was rung a long-running dispute about the boundary, and they had been subject to a court order banning them from trimming it. It was only after they broke the court order that they were jailed.
These arguments can even take a tragic turn. On Boxing Day 2015, neighbours in Mottingham argued over excessive noise. The wives were arguing over the hedge when both husbands came out into the garden. One was carrying a kitchen knife, and in the heat of the argument, he stabbed his neighbour to death.