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Brawling pensioners warned to keep peace

A pair of elderly neighbours who came to blows over a stray leaf have been ordered to stay away from each other following a doorstep brawl involving garden shears and a walking stick.

Pensioners Richard Furlong (70) and his next-door neighbour Lagus Rupp (68) were ordered to keep the peace for two years after Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) previously issued against the pair failed to stop them from attacking each other, a court heard yesterday.

Mr Furlong, of 2 The Moorings at Rosslare Harbour, Co Wexford, and Mr Rupp, who lives at 3 The Moorings, appeared at Wexford District Court charged with assault following a bust-up on their doorsteps on September 27, 2009. Both men denied the charges.

The court heard that Mr Rupp was annoyed when he spotted a neatly folded palm leaf deposited in his garden on the day in question.

"I spoke to my neighbour and I told him not to throw rubbish over the hedge. He has a habit of picking palm leaves off his lawn and chucking them over the hedge," he said.

Mr Rupp claimed his neighbour then challenged him to meet him at the front of their respective houses where a fist fight ensued.

"I was on the front lawn and he started effing and blinding. He carries a steel pipe around, which he claims is his walking stick; he started to beat me with that," he said.

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Mr Rupp said he was lying on his back on the ground when his neighbour hit him in the face with a stone from the garden before walking away. He showed the court photographs of himself sporting a black eye and bruises.

Mr Furlong, however, claimed he was walking to the front of the house from the back garden when he saw "this little lad" throwing debris over the low-rise fence between the two gardens.

He claimed he was then confronted by his enraged neighbour.

"He lunged at me with shears and I used my walking stick to knock it out of his hand. With that, we both went down. Then a fist fight broke out," he told the court.

Binding both men to keep the peace for two years, Judge Donnchadh O Buachalla said he hoped there would be no further incidents, "particularly in relation to leaves".

Mr Furlong declined to comment on the matter while Mr Rupp could not be contacted last night.

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