Belfast Telegraph

Overbearing neighbour guilty of harassing the woman who moved in next door to him

He saw himself as the leader of his street.

But John Wood now has a conviction for harrassing his neighbour after a judge ruled he went too far in his "firm and fixed views about what is right and wrong".

The 59-year-old, from Lower Celtic Park, Enniskillen, denied harassing the woman on dates between March 6 and August 17, 2013 when he appeared at Fermanagh Magistrates Court.

However, District Judge Nigel Broderick convicted him and adjourned sentencing until July 7 to await a probation report.

The court heard that Wood saw himself as "the most senior member" of Lower Celtic Park.

Wood told Judge Broderick he had told the woman he'd "forgive" her for erecting a fence.

However, the judge said that Wood "has taken on more than is his responsibility".

Giving evidence, the injured party said she moved in on March 6, 2013. As she unpacked, Wood was in his garden and "he seemed friendly". She told the court: "Then he started to tell me stories, and he said he had an email from someone asking him for a date, and they were 67 yards away."

The injured party added: "I said: 'Well, you're not getting any emails from me'. I was completely unnerved by that kind of conversation. I just want to live in quietness and peace."

She said when she erected a fence Wood "came and broke down the fence". When workmen arrived to fix it, Wood photographed them and her friends, who were at her house. The victim later videoed Wood and handed the footage to police.

The injured party said she received a solicitor's letter asking for money to make repairs to the fence and she replied through her solicitor.

A month after receiving the letter Wood approached her door late at night with a flashlight. "I was very unsettled so I rang a friend and told them what he was doing," she said. She "reached breaking point" in August when Wood again photographed her as she painted a wall.

She agreed with defence solicitor Julie Cooper that she had initially welcomed Wood's offer to prune her hedges. She denied Miss Cooper's assertion that she had annoyed Wood by videoing him.

Wood said he had lived alone for 20 years "since my dear mother died". He said: "I was raised right and I do acts of kindness. I felt that it had fallen on me to welcome people to the park."

District Judge Broderick concluded that Wood's actions "go well beyond the remit of a concerned neighbour".

Belfast Telegraph


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