Neighbour row in posh suburb erupts: as one makes axe threat

Neighbours in expensive suburb in court, after boundary dispute turned ugly

FILE PICTURE - Julie Rankine 54, arrives at Birmingham Magistrates Court using a metal walking stick. March 01, 2017.  Victims of a wealthy neighbour from hell have revealed their relief that their 10-year nightmare could be over after a court victory.  See NTI story NTISTICK.  Julie Rankine, 54, was convicted at Birmingham magistrates’ court yesterday of four charges relating to a long-running dispute in leafy Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield.  The trial was played mobile phone footage showing Rankine jabbing an electrician trying to do some work at her neighbour’s house in Streetly Lane, where properties start at £400,000 and some fetch £1 million.  Minutes after this footage was taken, Rankine shoved her walking stick into the stomach of her neighbour during a row over a fence panel.  Sentencing was adjourned until March 22 and Rankin was released on bail, with conditions she does not “harass, pester or cause nuisance” to the Moores and Kavanaghs.

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.

FILE PICTURE - (L-R) 26 Streetly Lane, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, home of Caroline Moore, 24 Streetly Lane, home of Julie Rankine, 22 Streetly Lane, home of Brendan & Michelle Kavanagh.  Victims of a wealthy neighbour from hell have revealed their relief that their 10-year nightmare could be over after a court victory.  See NTI story NTISTICK.  Julie Rankine, 54, was convicted at Birmingham magistrates’ court yesterday of four charges relating to a long-running dispute in leafy Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield.  The trial was played mobile phone footage showing Rankine jabbing an electrician trying to do some work at her neighbour’s house in Streetly Lane, where properties start at £400,000 and some fetch £1 million.  Minutes after this footage was taken, Rankine shoved her walking stick into the stomach of her neighbour during a row over a fence panel.  Sentencing was adjourned until March 22 and Rankin was released on bail, with conditions she does not “harass, pester or cause nuisance” to the Moores and Kavanaghs.

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.

Ranking denied assault and using threatening behaviour. She claimed she didn't even own an axe. However, she was found guilty on all counts. She was told she risked jail, and was given a restraining order.

Neighbour disputes

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.

Nightmare neighbours

Nightmare neighbours